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Forty-seven Ravens fly at graduation

POULSBO — It was a sea of green as 47 Spectrum Community School graduates came together for a celebration they surely will never forget. When it ended, they collectively stood to receive a standing ovation from a massive contingent of supporters at the North Kitsap Auditorium during the school’s 22nd annual graduation ceremony Friday night.

“I compare this to when an artist finishes a sculpture after three years of hard work,” said Spectrum principal Chris Wendelyn, who was witnessing his last graduation at the school’s helm. “Seeing the students’ resolve they possess over the years and watching them achieve something like this is great.”

Spectrum student council president Ly’Kendrick Dunn shared words of encouragement with his fellow classmates and faculty members.

“It’s a special night with family and friends,” he said. “It’s a time to celebrate, and is very rewarding time for everyone. Tonight is the night where a boy becomes a man and girl becomes a woman. Tonight all graduates start a new life.”

Dunn epitomized dedication as a student. He finished the 2006-07 year with perfect attendance record.

Wendelyn was emotional throughout the ceremony. After 22 years at Spectrum, he will be leaving the school in the fall. He was recently reassigned within the North Kitsap School District, and will be working exclusively in the Parent Assisted Learning program as a student advisor and a teacher.

When asked his thoughts on this being his final year at Spectrum, Wendelyn was at a loss for words.

“I can’t put into words right now what I am feeling,” he said. “My thoughts are too complex right now.”

Spectrum teacher Phil Davis praised Wendelyn for a job well done since he founded the school in 1985.

“Chris is one of those educators who just can’t treat people like numbers,” he said. “Spectrum prides itself on a cultural of respect. The only way to get respect is to give respect, and that’s the route Chris has taken.”

During the senior speakers portion of the ceremony, graduate Allisha Smith took time to praise Spectrum’s faculty.

“This school is unbelievable,” she said. “All of the teachers and staff members here are the best. I wouldn’t have graduated from any other school but this one. I am a Spectrum Raven, and I am ready to fly.”

Graduate Curtis Wright said choosing to attend Spectrum for the last three years was one of the best decisions he’s ever made.

“Spectrum is all about personal development,” he said. “As students here, we were allowed to express our ideas and individuality.”

Senior Stephen Dowden said graduating from the program was a bittersweet feeling. He attended the school for the last three years.

“The thing that’s going to be the weird now is leaving Spectrum,” he said. “It’s been a place that’s basically been home to me for a long time. I consider my teachers there to be my friends. They taught me more than anyone possibly could imagine.”

Dowden said outgoing Principal Wendelyn has made an incredible difference in his life.

“I have no idea where I would be right now if it wasn’t for him. He’s been the most influential person in my life,” he said. “I owe everything I am today to him.”

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