Families, friends watched graduating seniors deliver speeches and receive their diplomas on a June 10 broadcast

Marysville-Pilchuck High School and Marysville Getchell High School held digital commencement ceremonies this year for the Class of 2020 on June 10.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the cancellation of in-person graduations but hundreds turned on their computers to see a broadcast of speeches from seniors and students receiving their diplomas.

"Although we do not get to walk the stage like we imagined this last 13 years, we are still making history," said Aresli Marmolejo, Marysville Getchell High School class president.

Seniors said the last few months have been a big change from what they were expecting.

"When everyone told me that my senior year would be unforgettable, I certainly didn't expect a worldwide pandemic," said Maggie Schaffler, one of the M-PHS valedictorians.

"It was hard to continue working from home when everything you had been looking forward to was taken away," she said.

Seniors said their school experience was still great.

"This day has always seemed so far away," said M-PHS valedictorian Parker Deveroux. "Although our experience was cut short, it was still filled with incredible memories.”

Students said they enjoyed the high school experience over the last few years.

"Making weird, funny memories with the people you care about," said Jared Arquiza, valedictorian for the Getchell Academy of Construction and Engineering. "That's what high school should be about.”

Those years shaped graduating seniors more than just with an education, said many of the graduates.

"Right now we've all graduated but we also learned a lot, changed and met many friends. I think those things are as important as are achievements because they have made us the people we are," said Alina Sokolova, valedictorian for the Getchell School for the Entrepreneur.

Their school was also an opportunity for growth for many.

"High school was full of a lot of anxiety and fear, but also opportunity," said Elise Sumsion, valedictorian for the Getchell International School of Communications.

"I spent the first two years of high school in my comfort zone, not wanting to mess up," she said, adding she was glad she tried things like cheer and choreographing the school musical.

Now students are stepping out beyond high school.

"Although today is an end to one step of our lives, it is also the start of something greater," said Aaron Kaleb, M-PHS valedictorian.

"Today we celebrate the culmination of our entire lives thus far," said Bradley Taylor, valedictorian for the Getchell Bio-Med Academy.

"We are now ready to go out into the world," he said.

The second valedictorian for Bio-Med Academy, Angela Delacruz encouraged students to enjoy what lies ahead even if they don't have a plan yet.

"It doesn't matter if you have a set plan after graduation," she said. "If we build high expectations, how are we supposed to enjoy what happens and the unexpected.”

Many students also thanked the many people who helped them along the way.

"Our class has been through a lot, but we've made it through any adversity," said Garrett Devereux, valedictorian for the Getchell International School of Communications. "We've endured it all with the love and support of our teachers and parents.”

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