Colleen Smith Armstrong photo

Class of 2016 closes their last chapter

A group of scholars, athletes, musicians and artists crossed into adulthood during the Orcas High School 2016 graduation ceremony.

“We’ve shown Orcas Island what we can do as a class. Now let’s show the world,” said Class President Ray Doss.

The following students earned their high school diplomas on June 11: Lily Ater, Claire Bishop, Steven Bodenhamer, Rachel Marina Brewer, Pasha Bullock, Mackenzie Cardinell, Kevin A. Campos Carreon, Conagher Davis, Doss, Desmond Graves, Holden Thomas Griskey-Watson, Josephine Gudgell, Simone Hansen, Ryan Heath, Anneke Ivans, Anthony Kaskurs, Wlyie Kau, Reid Christian Ledgerwood, Gwydion Mareth, Kyle Masters, Lillian Miller, Emma Minnis, Sierra Dawn Morrison, Emily Nichols, Javier Orantes, Claire Orser, Kaya Osborn, Kahana Pietsch, Dana Sabine, Egil Waterman Sweet, Lorenzo Thixton, Halle Thompson, Tiana Roselea, Michael Tompkins and Zach Waage. Students Brewer, Hansen, Kau, Miller, Sabine and Pietsch were recognized for being in the National Honor Society.

Dr. Robert Gates, former CIA director and U.S. Secretary of Defense, gave the commencement speech. He spoke of the influence his own high school teachers had on his life, and after serving under eight presidents, he offered the following advice on what encompasses a strong leader: integrity, moral courage and treating people, especially subordinates, with decency and respect.

“In America today we really need leadership with all of those traits,” he said.

Gates said that when he first joined the CIA, he tried to be a field agent but was “less James Bond and more Austin Powers.”

“It may take you a few missteps…to fine what you are really good at,” he told the students.

The ceremony also included speeches from salutatorians Kau and Kaskurs and valedictorian Brewer and senior musicians played “Pin Ball Wizard” with the middle and high school strings. Gudgell presented literature teacher Maurice Austin with a senior class award and $1,000 for his “inspiration, generosity and brilliance.” This first annual award was funded by Gates.

The day before graduation, the seniors gathered for a special day with community members. During the Celebration of Success, the students received scholarships from local organizations that ranged from $250 to full-ride tuition awards. As principal Kyle Freeman said, it’s a tiny school with a huge amount of community generosity. The total amount (including four-year scholarships) reached $130,100.

These students were also recognized for scholarships they are receiving from their schools of choice: Ater, Brewer, Bullock, Doss, Gudgell, Hansen, Ivans, Kaskurs, Ledgerwood, Mareth, Miller, Pietsch, Sabine, Sweet and Waage.

Many of the presenters noted the well-qualified candidates in this year’s class. Several of the groups added scholarship amounts to accommodate more students. The 2016 class scholarships are as follows.

American Legion Scholarships

American Legion Citizenship Award : Ray Doss $250

American Legion Citizenship Award: Lillian Miller $250

Voyle B. Martin Academic Scholarship: Anthony Kaskurs $1,500

Claude A. Rubeling Academic Scholarship: Simone Hansen $1,500

Claude A. Rubeling Academic Scholarship: Zach Waage $1,500

In Honor of Fred Nicol Vocational Scholarship: Steven Bodenhamer $1,500

Islanders Bank Scholarships: Steven Bodenhamer $1000, Josephine Gudgell $1,000, Emma Minnis $1,000

Madrona Club Scholarship: Lillian Miller $2,000

Robin DiGeorgio Scholarship: Anthony Kaskurs $1,000

Orcas Center Margaret Exton Award: Ray Doss $250

Orcas Island Education Foundation Dare to Dream Scholarships: Pasha Bullock $500, Ray Doss $500, Lillian Miller $500, Simone Hansen $500, Wylie Kau $1,000, Anthony Kaskurs $1,000, Kahana Pietsch $500, Dana Sabine $500, Jo Gudgell $500

OIEF/ Realtors of Orcas Island Scholarship: Halle Thompson $1,000, Ray Doss $1,000

Orcas Education Associations: Ray Doss $500

PSE Scholarships: Ray Doss $150, Zach Waage $150, Emily Nichols $150, Dana Sabine $150, Emma Minnis $150

American Legion Auxiliary Scholarships

Sally Hart Memorial Scholarship: Zach Waage $1,000

Lar Vern Key Memorial Scholarship: Anthony Kaskurs $1,000

Mid Flaherty Memorial Scholarship: Ray Doss $1,000

American Legion Auxiliary Scholarships: Javier Orantes $1000, Wiley Kau $1,000, Mackey Cardinell $1000

Orcas Island Booster Club Scholarships: Pavel (Pasha) Bullock $500, Josephine Gudgell $500

Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival (Supported by the Thyra and Bud Anderson Advised Fund)

Marilynn Anderson Young Musician’s Awards: Jo Gudgell $500, Zach Waage $500, Anthony Kaskurs $500

San Juan County Sheriff’s Guild Scholarship: Steven Bodenhamer $500

Kiwanis Club of Orcas Island Scholarships

Kiwanis Academic Scholarship: Wylie Kau $1,200

Kiwanis Academic Scholarship: Kahana Pietsch $1,200

Kiwanis Academic Scholarship: Anthony Kaskurs $1,200

Kiwanis Academic Scholarship: Rachel Brewer $1,200

Kiwanis Leadership Scholarship: Lillian Miller $1,200

Kiwanis Voc-Tech Scholarship: Emily Nichols $500

Kiwanis Club Hat Draw Scholarship: Tiana Tompkins $400

Masonic Lodge

Vocational Scholarship: Sierra Morrison $1,000

Academic Scholarship: Simone Hansen $1,500

Academic Scholarship: Pavel (Pasha) Bullock $1,500

Lions Club

Jim Golithon Memorial Scholarship: Macky Cardinell $2,500

Vic Hughes Scholarship: Pavel (Pasha) Bullock $1,500

Joseph Bond Scholarship: Steven Bodenhamer $2,500

Abrahamsen Family Scholarship: Lillian Miller $2,500

Lions Club Foundation Scholarship: Kahana Pietsche $2,500

Leonard Wellnan Scholarship: Anthony Kaskurs $2,500

Orcas Road Classics Car Association: Wylie Kau $500

Odd Fellows Scholarships: Ray Doss $1,500, Lillian Miller $1,500, Pasha Bullock $1500

Eagle Forum Scholarship: Zach Waage $1,000

Kaleidoscope Scholarship: Lillian Miller $500

What I Didn’t Say Scholarship: Anneke Ivans $700

Lotioncrafter Entrepreneur Scholarship: Tiana Tompkins $1,000

Island Artisans’ Scholarship: Holden Griskey Watson $1,500

Daniel and Margaret Carper Foundation of Orcas Island Public School Student Scholarship (This scholarship is renewable every year for four years): Emma Minnis $8,000

Henigson Public School Student College Scholarship (This scholarship is renewed every year for four years): Lillian Miller $8,000