HRVHR Graduation 2018: ‘A class that could change this world’

329 HRVHS students celebrate graduation

HRVHS 2018 graduates (pictured) celebrate graduating high school by throwing their caps into the air after the tassel ceremony. Graduation was held at Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum on June 8.

Photo by RJ Chavez
HRVHS 2018 graduates (pictured) celebrate graduating high school by throwing their caps into the air after the tassel ceremony. Graduation was held at Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum on June 8.



After weeks of warm weather and sunny days in Hood River, it wouldn’t be a proper farewell for Hood River Valley High School graduates if it wasn’t cold and raining on graduation day.

“This isn’t a goodbye, but a see you later,” was the final message from HRVHS Student Body President Patricia Orozco to her classmates at the class of 2018 commencement ceremony at Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum on June 8.

In total, 329 graduates walked in the ceremony — more students are expected to graduate.

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Proud parents, family members and friends gathered around to congratulate the class of 2018 after the commencement ceremony. Domingo Barragan and his parents (pictured) shared a moment together after Barragan received his high school diploma.

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The class’s motto was “According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway because bees don’t care what humans think is impossible.”

Five graduating students spoke at the ceremony, alternating between English and Spanish.

Jacqueline Hernandez and Patricia Orozco (English) and Yahaira Chavarria (Spanish) gave the welcome speech, while Connor Truax (English) and Monique Verduzco (Spanish) gave the class speech.

Many positive words were said about the graduating class from HRVHS faculty, but nothing was more powerful than the common thought amongst staff that this is the class that can provide this world with change.

In his introductory speech, HRVHS Principal Rich Polkinghorn cited Bishop Curry, who quoted the late Dr. Martin Luther King saying, “’We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love, and when we do that — we will make of this old world a new world. For love is the only way.’

“When he said that, I thought that is the message for this graduating class,” said Polkinghorn.

Why?

“If ever there was a class that could change this world, it is the class of 2018,” said Polkinghorn. “They are motivated, they are ambitious and they are determined. I have witnessed this class band together, to take action, to speak up for themselves and for their classmates when our school, our town and our nation were thrust into the shadows of darkness.

“No matter what comes between us or what lies ahead, always remember ‘we’ came together tonight, remember ‘we’ are HRVHS — #TrueEaglesDontVape” — laughter from the class followed after Polkinghorn’s hashtag joke. “But most importantly, what I want you to remember are Dr. King’s words, ‘If you want to make the old world new again, love is the only way.’”

Eighteen students earned Valedictorian status, which requires a 4.0 grade point average.

The school also honored its Volunteers of the Year, Melanie Finstad, Gary Fisher and Gretchen Winans, all parents of 2018 graduates. These three parents were recognized for their outstanding work to help make for an enjoyable year at the high school.

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The recessional song chosen by the students was “Congratulations” by artist Post Malone. As the students’ caps flew into the air and the sun peaked through the clouds, Malone’s words travelled across the crowd, “I dreamed it all ever since I was young. They said I wouldn’t be nothing. Now they always say, ‘Congratulations.’ Worked so hard, forgot how to vacation. They ain’t never had the dedication. People hating, say we changed and look, we made it. Yeah, we made it.”



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