CLASS OF 2016
Graduation Day Festivities
On Saturday, June 4, at least 800 people gathered in the football stadium for the Brookings-Harbor High School graduation ceremony to witness processions, recognitions, speeches and celebrations.
"I think that I speak for everyone when I say that I am a proud member of the Class of 2016," said Co-Valdictorian Russell Nickels, one of six students earning the honor. "Let's cherish these beautiful memories today, not just as a class, but as a family."
"We learned how to twerk and how to plank, we made those ridiculous Harlem Shake videos, and did the ice bucket challenge. We whipped, we nay-nayed, and now we dab." Nickels said at the start of a light hearted medley of high school reminiscing led by the valedictorians, who added the final dance step in unison for extra emphasis.
"Today marks the start of a new and critical point in our lives," Valedictorian Courtney Bay said. "Today is about all of us. We believe in every single one of you ... you are all capable of achieving anything you want, when you put your mind to it."
The 106 graduating students also heard from Principal Lisa Dion, Teacher of the Year Ted Burdett, counselor Kristi Fulton, and others, who shared memories in speeches about the class.
Dion commended the class on their resilience, especially in the face of numerous staffing and policy changes throughout their high school careers.
"Your class experienced more upheaval and instability than any high school students should have to face ... losing teachers you've grown to love is tough, but so are you," Dion said. She and Vice Principal Alex Merritt were among a sea of new staff faces that greeted students their junior year.
She also commended the class for it's academic excellence. "Your class marks a turning point for Brookings-Harbor High School, because of your collective spirit of perseverance, your class is breaking the barrier of low graduation rates," she said. "Congratulations on a job well done."
Teacher of the Year Ted Burdett — one of the many beloved teachers students said goodbye to this year gave a brief address to the class.
"God bless these students and these graduates," Burdett said.
"Today, you're going to laugh a little, you're going to cry a little and that's a very good thing," he said, before setting off a chain reaction of hugs throughout the graduates at the conclusion of his speech
The senior members of Sea Breeze Choir entertained the crowd with a rendition of “Coming Home,” a tribute to the state of Oregon.
"I'm coming home to the place that I remember, back to the land of my first love. Would you spread open your arms for this wayward son? I left my heart in Oregon."
Counselor Kristi Fulton, the keynote speaker, laughed with the students about the memories they’d made throughout the past few years, and managed to work the name of every graduating student and BHHS teacher into her speech.
"Our community has given opportunities for you to grow into civic minded individuals ... seek out opportunities to serve, wherever you live," she said while congratulating the class on it's extensive community service.
Among her other lessons shared:
- "If you stumble, and others try to pull you down, you have to persevere," she said. "Surround yourself with others who are strong."
- "Always let others know how much you appreciate them.
- "Don't be afraid to accept assistance when needed."
- "Learn to take things in stride, relax and trust the process of life."
"Some of you might be wondering, what is my passion and purpose? That is the purpose of life, to find out. Look, leap, search, do not leave any stone unturned until you do," Fulton said.
"Always remember that you are a Bruin and you have the spirit of the mighty bear inside you," she added. "You were a BHHS Bruin first. Each of you are special."
"Class of 2016, you are now armed with one of the most important tools needed to forge your way ahead ... your future is in your hands, no one else," Fulton said.