Peninsula graduation ceremonies to begin this weekend

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

For the first time in known Clallam County history, Sequim High School is expected to graduate more seniors than Port Angeles in this season’s commencement ceremonies.

An estimated 199 seniors will graduate as members of the Sequim High School Class of 2013 at 6 p.m. Friday, June 14, at the Sequim High School stadium, 601 N. Sequim Ave.

At 8 p.m. Saturday, June 15, Port Angeles High’s Class of 2013 commencement ceremony will include between 190 and 195 graduates, Port Angeles Principal Garry Cameron said Tuesday.

Tickets available only from students are needed to attend the PAHS ceremony at the gym at 304 E. Park Ave. No valedictorians or salutatorians were selected.

The Port Angeles School District, which listed 1,098 students in May, has the most students on the North Olympic Peninsula.

Sequim, which lists 940 students, is the second-largest.

Smaller class

But the Port Angeles Class of 2013 has always had fewer students than other classes as it came up through the lower grades and entered high school, Cameron said.

“They’re smaller but determined to graduate,” he said.

The graduation rate for the class, which had 222 students enrolled as of May, is expected to be similar to classes from the past few years, which has been around 83 percent, he said.

In Sequim, the school had 230 enrolled, and 199 were on track to graduate as of Tuesday, said Maria Roragen, registrar for Sequim.

The class will have four valedictorians — Abigail Berry, Derek Chamblin, Ian Jones and Austin Law — Roragen said.

Some students from both schools still don’t know if they will graduate as they head into final exams, so actual graduation numbers are still estimates, school officials cautioned.

If it comes to pass that Sequim’s graduating class is larger than Port Angeles’, it will be unlikely that the reversal will repeat itself anytime soon, if enrollment reports are an accurate reflection of future classes.

According to May district enrollment reports, Sequim’s upcoming classes of 2014 through 2018 are between 35 and 50 students smaller than Port Angeles’ classes.

The largest classes in each district are those of the current freshmen, the Class of 2016 — including 310 students in Port Angeles and 262 in Sequim.

Among students still in elementary school, Port Angeles’ classes are between 60 and 100 students larger than Sequim’s.

Small classes

The small-class trend for 2013 also has affected other districts on the Peninsula, including the tiny Quileute Tribal School in LaPush.

The kindergarten-through-12th-grade school, which typically has between five and 10 seniors graduate each year, will have only three graduates — the entire senior class — at 5 p.m. Thursday at the A-ka-lat Center in LaPush.

All three graduates have plans to enroll in college this fall, said Principal Jon Claymore.

Quilcene High School will graduate 11 students. Four from the district’s alternative school, Crossroads Community, will participate in the same ceremony.

All 15 Quilcene graduates will receive their diplomas at the commencement ceremony at 2 p.m. June 15 at the Quilcene High gymnasium, 294715 U.S. Highway 101.

“This is one of Quilcene’s smallest graduating classes of the last decade,” said Principal Jeff Youde.

This weekend

Several commencement ceremonies are set this weekend. They are:

■ Port Townsend High School — 92 graduates, 7 p.m. Friday, McCurdy Pavilion, 200 Battery Way, Fort Worden State Park.

Rinnah Becker was named valedictorian, and Kate Darby Flanagan and Allison Turri will be co-salutatorians.

Tickets available only from students are necessary to attend the ceremony.

■ Chimacum High School — 84 graduates, 1 p.m. Saturday, McCurdy Pavilion, Fort Worden, Port Townsend.

Valedictorian of the Chimacum Class of 2013 is Christopher Pieper, with co-salutatorians Andrea Bell and Olivia Barton.

■ Neah Bay High School — 20 graduates, 1 p.m. Saturday, Neah Bay High School gymnasium.

Joey Monje was named valedictorian.

■ Forks High School — 65 graduates, 6 p.m. Saturday, Forks High School gymnasium, 261 Spartan Ave.

The valedictorian for the high school in the Quillayute Valley School District is Rachel Harner, who was accepted to Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. The salutatorian is Alissa Shaw.

Nine of the graduates are from Forks Alternative School, where many of the students are close to earning vocational certificates, and many have earned $6,000 scholarships to continue their education, said teacher Patty Vaughn.

Ceremonies next week

Commencement ceremonies planned on the Peninsula next week are:

■ Lincoln High School — 12 graduates, 6 p.m. Thursday, June 13, Peninsula College Little Theater at 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles.

Among the 12 seniors will be the school’s first dual graduate, who also will receive an associate degree from Peninsula College, said Principal Cindy Crumb.

■ Clallam Bay High School — 12 graduates, 2 p.m. June 15, Clallam Bay High School gymnasium, 16933 state Highway 112.

Megan Wonderly was named school valedictorian and Joey Larrechea salutatorian.

All 12 graduates have been accepted by a college, entered the military or have a job offer, said Principal Stephanie Teel.

“They all have a place waiting for them,” Teel said.

■ Crescent High School in Joyce — 17 graduates and two foreign-exchange students, who will receive certificates, 3 p.m. June 15, Crescent High School gymnasium, 50350 state Highway 112.

The school did not select a valedictorian or salutatorian this year.

Peninsula College

Peninsula College will award 571 associate degrees and professional certificates to the Pirate Class of 2013 at a 2 p.m. ceremony June 15 at the Peninsula College gymnasium.

Degrees are awarded throughout the year, so some students completed their degrees as far back as December, said Phyllis Van Holland, college spokeswoman.

All graduates are invited to march in the June ceremony, Van Holland said.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 04. 2013 5:12PM
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