More than 300 Mountlake Terrace High School seniors became MTHS graduates as the school held their Class of 2018 Commencement ceremony under a blazing sunset on Saturday.
The grads received their high school diplomas from MTHS Principal Greg Schellenberg and Edmonds School District board member Carin Chase in front of a packed grandstand at Edmonds Stadium.
Schellenberg took an inspirational tone in his last message to the class.
“The beautiful nature of life is that it is all up to you,” he said. “You are the artist; there’s a stadium full of people here that love you, believe in you and is totally psyched to see what comes out next and next and next.”
“Who you are is infinitely more important than what you do,” Schellenberg continued. “Be somebody that is considered helpful, kind and funny. Be likeable and trustworthy. Be that person that finds positives in others and in your circumstances.”
The student speakers at the program were self-reflective, encouraging their fellow graduates to be vulnerable, find a strong self-identity and to pursue their own personal happiness in life.
Senior Class President Chase Alberts began his message defining the past nine months for himself and his Class of 2018 members. “Senior year is inexplicably different than any year of school we’ve experienced. It’s the end of a journey we didn’t know we were working towards, and the beginning of an even larger journey. It’s the end and a new beginning.”
Eugene Seubert, chosen by the MTHS staff to speak at the commencement, shared his personal journey of growing up in a household with an alcoholic father. Seubert spoke of the first time he acknowledged to others the difficulties of his home life and how that helped him break free of emotional bondage.
“Everybody has their challenges in life,” Seubert said, “and what matters is that we help each other through them.”
“People often think vulnerability is a bad thing, that spilling your secrets shows weakness, that crying in front of a crowd is somehow cowardly,” he continued. “But all of that is wrong. It takes guts, bravery and courage to take the risks and break down those walls. And once you stop letting your secrets control you, you can start controlling them.”
Honor Society speaker Samantha Garcia Perez used her time in front of the graduates and commencement attendees to speak of creating a strong self-identity.
“This bubble we have all been in for 12 years has suddenly popped and after today we are on our own to be who we want to be and chase any dream we might have. And for this we need solid self-perception… be secure in yourself: your thoughts, your actions, to be the person you want to be,” Perez stated.
Katherine Parrish shared a hope-filled message that she and her fellow Class of 2018 members “want to do it all” in the years ahead. “There’s a world of opportunity out there, Hawks, and that it’s our for the taking. So I ask that we go forth and we indulge ourselves in the feast of knowledge presented to us for the rest of our lives.”
“Because as long as we can learn from what we’re doing every day and push ourselves to become more well-rounded in our daily lives,” she continued, “I have no doubt that we will soar.”
Parrish also presented the speech written by ASB President Brianna Houtman. “Bri is right here, however she has a note that she wanted me to read to you,” Parrish began, “which is that I pushed myself so hard that I find myself unable to give my speech about how I was wrong to push myself so hard.”
In the message that Houtman would have given herself, Parrish read, “What we base our lives and and everyday energy off of shouldn’t be in pursuit of what society deems success. It should be in the pursuit of what we deem happiness. And for me, that’s love.”
“So whether you’re going to a community college or a prestigious four-year, joining the military or entering the workforce, please just give time to not only sit down and found out what makes you happy but to make that your number one priority in your life,” Houtman’s message continued.
Following the commencement ceremony, the graduates were congratulated by friends and family in the walkways and the courtyard the stadium complex.
–By Doug Petrowski