On to greener pastures

he Class of 2005 presented 51 firsts Friday night. And six lasts.

June 15, 2005

Through high school, Rick Vaughan was that guy, who worked hard in basketball every single year. And every single year, the coach cut him. But he always turned out the next year, a little more skilled and a lot more determined.

He told this story how his father died eight years ago; how his mother burned in a house fire months ago and how the thing he wanted more than anything else was to have a house ready for her to come home to for when she recovered.

It was a rousing speech, one that brought the thousands gathered Friday night at Henderson Memorial Stadium for graduation to their feet.

"I thought it was marvelous," said Hood River Valley High School co-principal Martha Capovilla. "A very powerful speech that was certainly from the heart. I think it had a wonderful message for his classmates as well as people in the audience."

Hood River Valley High School graduated 275 students Friday night, in a ceremony that lasted two and-a-half hours.

"The class of 2005 has shown tremendous passion for humanities, in terms of they're outreach to the community for community service," Capovilla said. "I think they have really exemplified what it takes to be good citizens as a group. We were so proud of how the students responded and performed through the ceremony. Not one glitch on behalf of students. That is a good example of how as a group the class just matured and will move forward to become great citizens."

Six of those students completed the 26.5 credits necessary to graduate without ever receiving a grade less than an A. Abby Capovilla, Alicia Friend, Meghan Flink, Sarah Hourston, Jillian Jones and Rose Kelter were the valedictorians of the Class of 2005. To achieve this, all six had to survive a sophomore year up to which dozens of students were still in contention for valedictorian status.

The last to drop off the valedictorian list was Diana Chen, a semester before the ceremony.

This group might be the last in an era of multiple valedictorians at Hood River Valley High School. Starting next year, the school will execute a long-anticipated system that should produce a single valedictorian by awarding merit to grade point average, class difficulty and study of emphasis.

All students who receive 4.0s next year will be salutatorians.

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