By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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More than 300 new graduates will say goodbye this week to friends, teachers and mentors and move on to college and careers.
The region’s 11 high schools and Peninsula College will celebrate the Class of 2014 over the next two weeks, to cap the end of the 2013-14 school year.
This week, six high schools will hold commencement ceremonies to recognize the newly capped and gowned high school graduates.
The number of graduates from each school could change, since some students are awaiting the results of state graduation requirement testing and for final class grades.
Graduate candidates may be added or removed from the ceremonies according to the results.
This week’s graduation ceremonies are:
■ Quileute Tribal School’s graduation ceremony will kick off the graduation season, 5 p.m. Thursday at the A-Ka-Lat Center in LaPush.
The number of graduates and honor graduates for the Wolves Class of 2014 was not available.
Keynote speaker for the school’s graduation will be state Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip.
The tribal graduates have received a strong cultural education in carving, drumming and traditional singing and dancing, in addition to a classical western education.
■ Port Townsend High School’s graduation ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, at Fort Worden State Park’s McCurdy Pavilion in Port Townsend.
The Class of 2014 includes 110 graduates.
The class valedictorian is Daniel Charlton, and the salutatorian is Natalie Towes.
The class speaker is Micah Eval and the faculty selected speaker is Ewan Shortess.
“I would describe the Class of 2014 as strong, independent thinkers. They are a very caring group of kids who are tenacious around important issues, such as the environment and climate change,” Principal Carrie Ehrhardt said.
“I’m also impressed as I look at the top 20 percent of the graduating seniors; they are not only strong academically, but many are also athletic and musically talented as well,” Ehrhardt said.
■ Chimacum High School’s graduation will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden State Park.
The Cowboys’ Class of 2014 includes 76 graduates.
Co-valedictorians are Heather Hamilton and Jonathan Parent, each with a 4.0 grade-point average.
Megan Dukek is the class salutatorian with a 3.96 GPA.
“This class, collectively, has done an amazing job with their senior projects,” Principal Whitney Meissner said.
A student wrote and directed the school’s fall school play, she said, while another student developed a health and nutrition curriculum for elementary physical education classes and taught six groups of kids under the direction of a teacher.
Two students developed a recycling program for Jefferson County Parks. Tow others started a winter color guard. And one student built a guitar.
■ Neah Bay High School’s graduation ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Neah Bay High School gymnasium.
The Red Devils Class of 2014 includes 21 graduates.
“[This is] my last graduation with the Neah Bay Schools,” said Principal Ann Renker, who is leaving Neah Bay at the end of June to work with the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The class Valedictorian is Cierra Moss, and salutatorian is Josiah Greene.
The class has two notable accomplishments, Renker said.
“Many of our grads have won two State 1B football championships, and 90 percent have plans to attend college in the fall,” she said.
■ Quilcene High School’s graduation ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Quilcene High gymnasium, 294715 U.S. Highway 101.
The Rangers Class of 2014 includes 19 graduates.
The class valedictorian is Jacob Pleines and the salutatorian is Jeremy Van Berkom.
“It’s a very close-knit group. There are four of them who have been together all 12 years,” Principal Gary Stebens said.
At least 90 percent of the students have been involved in athletics at some point in their high school years, Stebens said.
■ Forks High School graduation will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Spartan gym at the high school at 261 S. Spartan Ave.
The Spartans’ Class of 2014 includes 75 graduates.
Erin Weekes will be class valedictorian and Shania Kilmer is the salutatorian.
“They were probably best known as the ‘quiet riot,’” Principal Cindy Feasel said.
The class of 2014 was a mellow class, worked hard to do the right thing, and didn’t have a lot of discipline problems,” Feasel said.
“But they are totally ready to take on the world,” she said.
The second weekend of graduation ceremonies, including that for Peninsula College, will begin Thursday, June 12.
■ Lincoln High School — 6 p.m. June 12, at Peninsula College’s Little Theater, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles.
■ Sequim High School — 6 p.m. June 13, at the Wolves Stadium at the high school at 601 N. Sequim Ave.
■ Port Angeles High School — 8 p.m. June 13, in the high school gym, 304 E. Park Ave.
■ Clallam Bay High School — 2 p.m. June 14, in the high school gym, 16933 state Highway 112.
■ Crescent High School — 3 p.m., June 14, in the high school gym, 50350 state Highway 112, Joyce.
■ Peninsula College — 2 p.m. June 14, in the Peninsula College gym in Port Angeles.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.