Woodland High School celebrated its largest graduating class with 155 graduates in a series of events culminating in the Commencement Ceremony on Friday, June 15. Graduates took part in a Senior Breakfast, paraded through district schools in the Parade of Graduates, and concluded by walking in the 110th Annual Commencement to receive their diplomas.
Graduates gathered at the Woodland Presbyterian Church for a special breakfast, a traditional nearly 70 years running
On Friday morning, graduates gathered at the Woodland Presbyterian Church for a special breakfast provided by volunteers and the church pastor. The Presbyterian Church has celebrated the success of graduating seniors by graciously providing a special breakfast as a Woodland tradition for nearly 70 years.
Parade of Graduates
Following Senior Breakfast, the grads donned their gowns for the third-annual Parade of Graduates through the district's schools
Following breakfast, the graduates donned their graduation gowns for the third annual Woodland Parade of Graduates. Graduates parade through Woodland Primary School, Woodland Intermediate School, Woodland Middle School, and even Woodland High School. Students prepared banners and posters celebrating their older counterparts' graduation and lined the parades route to cheer. Some students give high-fives to graduates as they passed.
The Parade of Graduates was developed and organized as a joint project by the district's entire administrative team. "The parade serves to inspire students in younger grades to see the end goal of their years of learning," said Dan Uhlenkott, Assistant Principal of Woodland High School. "Both the graduates and the younger students were so excited to take part in the celebration."
Hunter Graham, a 2018 graduate, started attending Woodland schools during his Freshman year, but still appreciated visiting the other campuses, “It was a very cool experience seeing the kids and getting all the support from both the students and staff.” The Class of 2018 will be the last class to attend both the new high school opened in 2015 as well as the old campus, now the Woodland Middle School. “I never thought I’d walk through the halls of the old high school again,” said Jared Frederick, another 2018 grad. “I can’t believe how small it is compared to my memories of it.”
While riding the buses between campuses, grads reflected on their time attending the different schools by regaling in memories of their favorite teachers lunches, recesses, fire drills and other events from their academic careers.
Natalie Biddix, Senior Class Speaker, served as the Master of Ceremonies for the commencement
The Class of 2018 broke the district record for largest graduating class as a total of 155 students graduated. Woodland High School's 110th Commencement Ceremony on the evening of Friday, June 15, and was the first commencement ceremony held at the new high school’s stadium, first opened in August 2015.
The Woodland High School band played "Pomp and Circumstance" as the graduates entered followed by the WHS Jazz Choir singing the National Anthem. Natalie Biddix, Senior Class Speaker, served as the Master of Ceremonies, opening the commencement with a speech reminiscing about her classmates’ time attending Woodland Public Schools. Natalie also spoke of the challenges facing her classmates throughout the years including learning to navigate an entirely new high school.
The Class of 2018 selected Kyla Keefer, a Woodland High School Social Studies and English Language Arts teacher, to give a speech to the graduates. Keefer spoke of discovering her love of teaching as a student teacher for the Class of 2018 when they were in seventh grade. “I’ve never been a teaching in a building that you students weren’t attending,” she recalled. “I have to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart; you have all helped me discover my calling as a teacher and my second home – our classroom.”
The senior class voted to select Kyla Keefer, WHS Teacher, as their commencement speaker
Cooper Kaml, the first of two class speakers selected from tryouts, spoke of recognizing experience as the result of not getting what you planned. Cooper also emphasized the importance for his classmates to defy the expectations set forth for their generation, striving to do good work and achieve the best they can throughout their lives.
Levi Orem, the second of two class speakers selected from tryouts, gave his class an important message of the need to defy stereotypes facing their generation and be aware of their use of technology. “Our generation doesn’t remember what the world looked like with our smartphones,” he explained. “Maybe that’s why we’re the loneliest generation – we’ve allowed the ‘connectedness’ these devices provide to actually disconnect us.”
Levi went on to encourage his classmates to develop the interpersonal skills to truly connect with one another. He spoke of his classmates wish for the world to be different, “No matter what you want to change in the world, you must take the personal responsibility for making that change a reality.”
Levi sprinkled his address with humorous anecdotes and closed his speech beaming with pride for Woodland High School and his classmates, “We are not the stereotypes people have for us – we are state champs, excelling students, and, most importantly – we are Beavers. Stay cool, Woodland High School.”
John Shoup, WHS Principal, challenged the Class of 2018 to find ways to thrive in life
Woodland High School Principal John Shoup challenged the Class of 2018 to thrive in life. “Our attitude is the one thing we can completely control,” he said. “Find the best in people and assume the individuals you interact with on a daily basis have good intentions in their actions.” Shoup also encouraged graduates to find the times to step back, relax and pause in order to give the benefit of the doubt, “If you meet this challenge, you will experience so much less stress in your lives and will be that much more likely to thrive.”
Following John Shoup’s speech, Woodland Superintendent Michael Green welcomed the Class of 2018, “Through your perseverance and commitment, you’ve completed your formal education, yet we call this celebration a ‘commencement’ which means ‘beginning’ as this is only the very beginning of your successful lives.”
Following his speech, Green officially certified the graduating members of the Class of 2018 had met the requirements and presented the class to Board Director Lesa Beuscher who handed out diplomas to each graduate.
The Class of 2018 celebrated the end of their commencement ceremony with the traditional cap toss
Additional photographs of the events described above can be found on Woodland Public School's Facebook page located at www.Facebook.com/WoodlandPS