Rainier’s Class of 2019 commencement ceremony on Saturday had two themes: family and transition.
The class had become like a family, speakers said, after meeting as children and then blossoming from elementary and middle school students to underclassmen and beyond.
Student speakers Jack Richardson and Nathaniel Falls both talked about how the class was like a family, mixing in jokes about their time walking the school’s halls.
“High school, to me, has been an amazing experience because in a small town you get to grow up with the same 60 to 80 people and it just keeps growing as a family,” Falls, a salutatorian, said during the ceremony. “Being able to see the tremendous growth between kindergarten and today — we’re more than just a town. We’re a community and a family all together.”
Kenneth Guerr, one of three valedictorians along with Amanda Guisinger and Taleah King, told the audience about his experience moving to Rainier in the fifth grade, and his journey of making friends and navigating those transformative years.
Guerr’s speech hit both themes of family and transitions. He thanked all involved parties and sent his classmates out with a call-to-arms.
“Gandhi once said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world,’ ” Guerr concluded. “So the question I want to leave with you all tonight is, ‘How will you change the world?’ ”
Faculty speakers emphasized transitions by telling stories about their routes to Rainier. Anne Warrington spoke of the risk she took coming from Minnesota when she knew only four people in Oregon. Dale T aylor recounted the risk he took leaving Texas, and then his career change from veterinarian to teacher.
Transitions are hard, they said, but not impossible. They come with built-in risk.
“Listen carefully,” Taylor said. “It’s have fun, play safe. Not have fun, play it safe.”