By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
On Sunday, 140 students who make up the Washington High School Class of 2018 crossed the stage set up in the varsity gym to receive their diplomas and officially become alumni of the school.
During the ceremony, organist Virginia Bordwell played the traditional ?Pomp and Circumstance? as the students entered the gym that was packed with parents, faculty and staff, and other well-wishers. Superintendent Jeff Dicks welcomed the people, giving his last graduation speech as superintendent of the school district. Dicks is leaving for another position at the end of June. Speakers Jameson Bell, Alexis Edwards and Tania Melendez spoke of the 13 years they spent in the Washington district and their hopes for the future.
?Our seeds were planted and first sprouted at preschool,? Bell said. ?Don?t get me wrong, those were the days. Even though we didn?t know each other well, our mornings consisted of a bunch of coloring, stories and crazy games.?
He went on to remember moving to middle school and then high school.
Edwards talked about the uniqueness of her classmates. She joked about being surprised the class members, including herself, had arrived on time for the event.
?I think this is the first time I?ve seen our entire grade all in one room,? she said. ?I?m pretty sure we can agree we forgot half our grade even went to school with us. After we made it through our required courses and started taking classes in our own fields, the classmates we saw on a regular basis dwindled.?
This year marked the first time that two students, Brooke Stout and Austin Stalder, received an associate degree from Kirkwood Community College before graduating high school.
Melendez?s speech proclaimed ?We Made It? and discussed the future of the class.
?My favorite quote is ?In a world where you can be anything, be kind,?? she said. ?Being kind to each other is important especially in small towns like Washington, where the residents aren?t recognized very often. But when we do good things and have life-changing moments, we unite into a strong and good community.?
Also during the event, valedictorians and a salutatorian were named. Morgan Brinning and Connor Jarrard were the valedictorians while Stout was the Salutatorian.