The class of 2018 bid farewell to high school and said hello to adulthood.
A commencement ceremony was held on Saturday, June 16 for the Orcas Island High School graduating class: Garrett Ballanger, salutatorian Ivan (Vanya) Bullock, Katie Campos, Yusuf Duni, Alexander Frost, Skyler James Gregg, Liam Griskey-Watson, Leif Gustafson, Journey Rain-King Howden, Brittney Kern, Jadyn Kopp, salutatorian Kellen Maier, Joanne Mietzner, Katelyn Minnis, Haley Moss, Matthew Mullan, Ella Nelson, Jessica Nichols, Serei O’Toole, salutatorian Hayden Simpson, valedictorian Gabe Smith, Sabina Tillman, Maggie Toombs, McCabe Webb, Joie Zier and Violet Sturk.
The audience heard from a variety of speakers, including School Board Chair Janet Brownell, Superintendent Eric Webb, Principal Kyle Freeman and Senior Class Advisor Phil Comito, who also received the senior class award.
Salutatorians Bullock, Maier and Simpson spoke about their teachers, saying “without them, we wouldn’t be standing here today.” Class president O’Toole honored his classmates for being athletes, scholars, ASB officers and more, and bragged about their perfect score in the yearly lip syncing contest.
“We are and always will be Orcas-raised Vikings,” he said.
Smith thanked his mother and dedicated teachers for helping him overcome learning difficulties to become valedictorian.
Commencement speaker Mathew Chasanoff shared his memories of teaching many of the seniors when they were in elementary school.
“I taught you everything you needed to know in the first grade, and you’ve had 11 years to perfect it,” he laughed.
Chasanoff gave the class members surveys to fill out with questions about their favorite island places, qualities they appreciate in others and advice they’d give themselves at 25. He shared the results, and ended his speech with the kids’ advice, which he called “insightful.”
• Live a life you’ll remember
• Don’t lose who you are
• Don’t worry about everything too much and don’t be so hard on yourself
• Don’t put yourself in debt
• Work hard and live cheaply
• Never settle
• Don’t be so dramatic
• Spread kindness
• Don’t forget your roots
• Orcas will always be your home. No matter how far you roam, the island will welcome you with open arms.
And there wasn’t a dry eye in the gym when Chasanoff asked who in the audience loved someone in the class of 2018, and every single person stood.
In addition to their diplomas, the students were given wooden Orcas Island plaques made by Mark Padbury so that they’ll “always remember home.”
The scholarship recipients were announced at a Celebration of Success on June 15; see below for results. A total of $102,600 was given to students.
• Voyle B. Martin Academic Scholarship: Katelyn Minnis, $1,500.
• Voyle B. Martin Vocational Scholarship in Honor of Harry Patton WWII Veteran: Ella Nelson, $1,500.
• Claude A. Rubeling Memorial Academic Scholarship: Gabriel Smith, $1,500.
• Claude A. Rubeling Memorial Academic Scholarship: Maggie Toombs, $1,500.
• American Legion Inspirational Award and Medallion: Haley Moss $250.
• American Legion Inspirational Award and Medallion: Vanya Bullock $250.
Sons of the American Legion
• Steve Resch Memorial Scholarship: Leif Gustafson, $3,300.
American Legion Auxiliary Unit #93
• Sally Hart Memorial Scholarship: Leif Gustafson, $1,500.
• Mid Flaherty Memorial Scholarship: Kellen Maier, $1,500.
• Lar Vern Keys Memorial Scholarship: Haley Moss, $1,500.
• ALA Scholarship in Honor of Barbara Saul: Maggie Toombs, $1,500.
• ALA Scholarship in Honor of Kay Irwin: Vanya Bullock, $1,500.
Fidelis Circle Awards
• Katie Carreon Campos $200.
• Serei O’Toole $200.
Bob and Phyllis Henigson Public School Student College Scholarship
• Renewed every year for four years: Kellen Maier, $8,000 per year.
• Leif Gustafson, $1,000.
• Katelyn Minnis, $1,000.
Kaleidoscope Preschool and Child Care Scholarship
• Matthew Mullan, $500.
Kiwanis Club of Orcas Island
• Kiwanis Citizen/Leadership Scholarships: Joanne Mietzner, $1,200; Haley Moss, $1,200; Gabriel Smith, $1,200; Maggie Toombs, $1,200.
• Kiwanis Voc-Tech Scholarship: Jessica Nichols, $500.
• The Bill Marx Hat Draw Award: Yusuf Duni, $400.
• Leif Gustafson, $1,000; Kellen Maier, $1,000.
Orcas Education Association
• Gabriel Smith, $500.
Orcas Island Booster Club
• Vanya Bullock, $500; Kellen Maier, $500; Katelyn Minnis, $500; Jessica Nichols, $500; Joie Zier, $500.
Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival
Supported by the Thyra and Bud Anderson Advised Fund.
• Marilyn Anderson Young Musician’s Awards: Liam Griskey-Watson, $500; Joanne Mietzner, $500.
Orcas Island Education Foundation
• OIEF Scholarships: Vanya Bullock, $1,000; Kellen Maier, $1,000; Haley Moss, $1,000; Maggie Toombs, $1,000; Liam Griskey-Watson, $500.
• Dare to Dream Scholarships: Journey Howden, $500; Katelyn Minnis, $500.
• Hobie Alter Scholarship: Leif Gustafson, $600.
• Marian A. Berdan Scholarship, supporting women pursuing studies in math or science: Joanne Mietzner, $500.
• Realtors of Orcas Island Scholarship: Gabriel Smith $2,000.
• Thurman Bond Scholarships: Violet Sturk, $750; McCabe Webb, $750.
Orcas Island Fire and Rescue Firefighter/EMT Association
Jeff Patty Scholarship (This scholarship is renewed every year for four years): Joanne Mietzner, $500
Orcas Island Lions Club and Foundation
• Abrahamsen Family Scholarships: Kellen Maier, $2,500; Haley Moss, $2,500.
• Jim Golithon Memorial Scholarship: Vanya Bullock, $2,500.
• Joseph Bond Vocational Scholarship: Violet Sturk, $2,500.
• Leonard Wellman Academic Scholarship: Gabriel Smith, $2,500.
• Orcas Island Lions Club Scholarship in Honor of Bob Bennett: Maggie Toombs, $2,500.
• Vic Hughes Memorial Scholarship: Leif Gustafson, $2,500.
Orcas Odd Fellows Awards
• Gabriel Smith: $1,500.
• Victoria Sturk (OASIS): $1,500.
• Joanne Mietzner, $500.
Public School Employees of Orcas Island
• Garrett Ballanger, $150; Joanne Mietzner, $150; Katelyn Minnis, $150; Jessica Nichols, $150.
San Juan County Sheriff’s Guild
• Vanya Bullock, $500; Haley Moss, $500.
San Juan Masonic Lodge
• Academic Scholarships: Haley Moss, $1,500; Gabriel Smith, $1,500.
• Vocational Scholarship: Violet Sturk, $1,000.
The following students received scholarships from their colleges, universities or outside sources: Yusuf Duni, Leif Gustafson, Journey Howden, Jadyn Kopp, Kellen Maier, Joanne Mieztner, Katelyn Minnis, Haley Moss, Hayden Simpson, Gabriel Smith, Violet Sturk, Maggie Toombs and McCabe Webb.