They’ve been waiting for this moment to arrive

This graduate added her own decor to the festivities. - Tara Lemm/Staff Photo
This graduate added her own decor to the festivities.
— image credit: Tara Lemm/Staff Photo

POULSBO — Eighty eight years have passed since North Kitsap Union High School’s first graduating class received diplomas.

Though the styles and times have changed, much remains the same.

The themes of hope, inspiration to accomplish greatness and fulfilling a bright and successful future still ring true eight decades later.

On Saturday, the approximately 280 NKHS seniors who comprised the graduating class of 2008 were told to seize the opportunities awaiting them as they shed their adolescent years and take their first steps into grownup responsibility.

“You have survived with grace and have become beautiful diamonds,” said NKHS Principal Kathy Prasch to the graduates and packed crowd at the North Kitsap Stadium. “We will miss you. To the resilient and extraordinary class of 2008: I wish you all the best.”

Prasch’s words were oh-so applicably followed by the Honor Choir’s singing of the Beatles’ “Black Bird,” which declares, “You were always waiting for this moment to arrive.”

They’ve been waiting, patiently, and that moment finally did arrive, but first came a few motivational speeches and the volleying of giant beach balls and life-sized blow up monkeys.

“This is a spirit day of all spirit days — a day to remember,” said NKHS valedictorian Britt Seaberg. “My advice to you is, where ever you are, integrate yourself into your surroundings, be friendly, open and outgoing. Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. We made it class of 2008.”

To make it wasn’t an easy feat for the 2008 Viking graduates, who earned approximately $2 million in scholarship dollars.

They moved a “mountain with a teaspoon” — passing the WASL, senior projects, an ongoing remodel, a split of the senior class and “playing sports as a 3A school in a 4A league” — to get there.

“Each one of these stressors has been juggled by everyone of us at some point in time,” said co-salutatorian Stephanie Skelly. “By focusing on one task at a time, we all made it.”

On Saturday none of the challenges seemed to matter, as each purple-clad adult, alight with energy and smiles, crossed the stage to grasp the final token of their youth: their high school diploma.

It’s a moment that won’t soon be forgotten, as it marks the start of a new adventure for most.

“I’m feeling joy, excitement and freedom,” said graduate Alyssa Huey who’s attending Olympic College in the fall. “It’s the start of a new life. A new beginning.”

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