The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Gratitude pervades Naselle graduation


Diana Zimmerman

Valedictorian Raja Estes could not contain her joy after the graduating class was officially announced by the Superintendent Lisa Nelson and caps were thrown.

Valedictorian Raja Estes began Naselle High School's Class of 2017 commencement on Saturday with gratitude, giving thanks to all.

She was followed by faculty speaker Scott Smith, a science teacher, who used snake reproduction as a vehicle for advice.

"Life lesson number one," Smith said, "if you store up snake eggs, you ultimately get snakes. In plain language, the thoughts, attitudes and beliefs you nurture today will have significant consequences in the future."

He spoke of the snake eggs of fear, the past, negative self-talk, believing lies about sex, porn, substance abuse, religious misconceptions, and that one is incapable of change.

Smith asked the students to store up hope and gratitude instead.

Class speaker Cameron Burch encouraged his classmates and everyone who was listening.

"Meet your challenges straight on," Burch said. "Try to excel in everything you do. Your individual successes benefit society as a whole because when you succeed you lighten the burden on your fellow person. When you succeed you are in a position to give, rather than take. We have the power to inspire the world to success. My challenge to each of you is to do everything to reach your maximum potential, chase your dreams, never give up."

Diana Zimmerman

Class Speaker Cameron Burch kept his speech short because there was cake waiting for him at home.

The high school band played Chicago's 25 or 6 to 4 and then it was time for the slide show. Students pictures floated across the screen with tunes from Alphaville and Kenny Chesney playing.

After all the scholarships were announced and diplomas were handed out, Superintendent Lisa Nelson stepped up to the podium to officially present the Class of 2017.

"I had a speech prepared, but I don't think I can compete with sex and snakes," she joked.

According to Nelson, this is the last class of students from the 1990s. She spoke appreciatively of teachers Bruce Wise and Scott Smith, who are retiring. Both had taught at the school for decades.

Salutatorian Kyryn Jacot stepped to the front and led her class in the turning of the tassel.

Caps flew in the air, and then the graduates joyfully made their way from the stage.


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