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Seniors blow high school days good-bye

POULSBO — As the North Kitsap Concert Band approached the climax of “Jupiter, From the Planets” during Saturday’s graduation ceremony, a tremor of laughter jittered through the crowd, and a few parents in the audience craned their necks to see what had caused it.

The graduates, all clad in purple robes and mortarboards, were doing the wave.

It was that kind of ceremony Saturday afternoon as North Kitsap High School, along with hundreds of parents, siblings, and friends, celebrated the graduation of this year’s senior class — 386 graduates.

The ceremony had its share of serious moments. Principal Dave Andersen told the audience of the graduates’ journey.

“It’s a journey that has stretched their minds and tested their consciousness,” Andersen said.

Superintendent Eugene Medina told the grads, “you sit here today because you achieved your goals. You did it, and we’re very, very proud of you.”

And faculty speaker Dick Daniels, a retired vice-principal, told the students that relationships are everything, and gave them hints on how to build and maintain those relationships. “When you love yourself, take care of yourself, and respect yourself, you will be able to love, take care of, and respect others,” Daniels said.

But the day belonged to the graduates. Student speakers and co-valedictorians Sylvie Davidson, Elizabeth Diehl, and Peter Gilbreath re-created a trip to paint “the rock,” the boulder at the parking lot entrance that has been spray-painted, sometimes obscurely, by several generations of students.

Gilbreath added a musical score — the “Mission Impossible” theme, which he belted out (“Duh, duh, DUH, duh”) while sneaking down the main aisle.

The students’ speech shunned academics. Instead, they talked about the friends they had made throughout school; friends their own age and others.

“The important thing you get out of high school is that you know you have friends,” Gilbreath said.

The students recalled all the different places they had met their friends: while being made to stand against the wall during elementary-school recess (a common punishment); while waiting in line for their classes the first day of seventh grade; while having fun throughout high school.

“You’re not just friends with kids your own age,” Gilbreath said. “You become friends with teachers and parents because they care about you.”

The ceremony also included music from the North Kitsap concert band, the NK choir graduates, and recessional songs by Port Gamble S’Klallam tribal members and the student band Poor Richard.

After graduation was over, senior Ashley Harris said, “It’s exciting. I’m starting a new life and going to college soon.”

Meghan Bruce said, “My favorite part was getting my diploma, shaking the superintendent’s hand, everyone cheering for me. Just the excitement of graduation.”

Some students still had that excitement, even after students began cleaning the field of confetti and chairs once the ceremony had ended.

After most people had gone home, one student played a few bars of “Pomp and Circumstance” on his trumpet.

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