North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Lakewood's Class of 2018 celebrates graduation


Christopher Andersson

Lakewood High School graduating seniors turn their tassels at the end of the school's commencement ceremony on June 8.

Lakewood High School graduating seniors turned their tassels and took their first steps away from high school during their 2018 commencement ceremony on June 8.

The graduating class accomplished a lot in their years at the school, said Lakewood High School principal Mike Curl, including a fast pitch softball team that was the first to go to the state tournament in 17 years, school and district records in track and field, and holding the first musical in the new school's auditorium this year.

Now students are graduating and will move on to other things.

Curl said that of the students who responded to the high school's exit survey, 20 percent are planning to attend a four-year college, 45 percent are planning to attend community college and 4 percent are planning on enlisting in the military.

Student speaker Kataka Corn said that students should relax if they don't know what they're doing just yet.

"For those of you leaving high school unsure of what to look forward to, you can look forward to a wide-open future of unlimited possibilities," she said.

Corn said that just a little bit ago she was "unsure what to do," however was encouraged to become a music director by one of her mentors.

"And then out of the blue came a teaching internship opportunity and I accepted it right off the bat," she said.

Graduating seniors have seen a lot of change throughout their years at the school and they are first class to graduate at the new high school.

"They enjoyed two years of construction, having to deal with the fumes, noise and partial closure of classrooms, not to mention parking in the church parking lot as juniors," said Curl.

It was a big transition for many.

"We were sad that we couldn't decorate the halls and it didn't feel the same, but we grew into the new building and made it our home," said valedictorian Paige Shimkus.

The restricted parking lot during construction didn't make things easier for students either.

"Time will pass but we will all remember when the parking lot turned into 'The Hunger Games,'" said Shimkus.

Shimkus said that in addition to the building changing, the students changed by growing as people.

"We changed a lot growing up, and I think the people in the audience can attest to that, but I think we changed the most during these four years at Lakewood High School," she said.

Faculty speaker Jeremiah Wohlgemuth gave some of the "Words of Wisdom" that the class had written for themselves.

"You guys are really hard on yourself. The advice you gave yourself were things like 'don't be lazy,' 'don't be a pile,' 'work harder than the person next to you.' Don't worry about the person next to you, just work hard," he said.

He appreciate the empathy students often showed with their advice though.

"One of the things I appreciated the most was your care for each other," he said.

Christopher Andersson

James Blake Funston walks off the stage after receiving his diploma and receives a pat on the back from Lakewood School District Superintendent Michael Mack during Lakewood High School's commencement ceremony on June 8.

Many of the Lakewood students found friends or groups that they will remember, said valedictorian Palina Buchanan.

She wanted to remember the two groups that helped her through high school.

"Cross country was the first high school thing I became a part of. I went from being the funny little freshman on varsity to the girls team captain my senior year," she said.

"It gave me the confidence that even in my worst days and darkest hours I can exceed my own expectations," she said.

Buchanan also wanted to recognize the music program and the band director.

"She has inspired me daily to push myself beyond what others are content with me achieving," she said.

Buchanan's valedictorian speech ended with her pulling out a surprise ukulele and ending with an original song she wrote for graduation.

"I can't wait to leave, yet I'm a little sad to go, I think I might miss Lakewood," she sang as the chorus of the song.


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