Palin to Republic grads: ‘You gotta get off your butt to make a buck’

REPUBLIC — Former Alaska governor and Republican firebrand Sarah Palin had a gift and a message for the 26 graduates at a small-town commencement in northeastern Washington state this weekend.

The grads in the high school gym in the town of Republic found a dollar bill taped under their seats. The message, Palin said: “You gotta get off your butt to make a buck.”

The Spokesman-Review reported that 700 people crowded into the gym for the ceremony Saturday. Republic, the government seat of Ferry County, is a town of 1,100 in a historic gold-mining region.

Palin told the audience that in 1964, when her father, Chuck Heath, set out for Alaska from Sandpoint, Idaho, where she had been born just a few months before, the family had car trouble. She said they stopped in Republic, where a mechanic fixed the car for a pittance and sent them on their way.

“You got us on our path,” Palin said, to more applause.

That was a big part of the reason Palin accepted an invitation from senior class President Tyler Weyer to be the graduation speaker. The class posed in the school’s front yard holding a “We Want You, Governor Palin!” banner that got attention on Facebook.

“Through this entire process, I’ve learned many things,” Weyer said in his introduction of the former vice presidential candidate. “Anything is possible; all you’ve got to do is want it.”

Palin’s presence lent a little extra pomp and circumstance to the annual tradition in Republic. The ceremony featured caps, gowns, squealing infants and tearful parents sending face-reddening hand waves toward their children, the newspaper reported.

There were also reminders of rural Washington. Senior Heather Giddings received the home economics award, earning praise as the “best wild game cook in Eastern Washington.” Giddings and her classmates celebrated their accomplishment on a stage flanked by paper banners bearing the class motto: “You Only Live Once.”

Shops along Republic’s main drag welcomed Palin, and Helen Weinar, a Czech immigrant, traveled all the way from her home outside Seattle with her daughter, Helen De Leon. They plopped down outside Republic High School at 5:30 a.m. to ensure that they’d see Palin.

“It’s a dream come true,” Weinar said.

More in Local News

Food stuffs for a local chapter of A Simple Gesture at Fitness Evolution, the communal pick-up point, in Arlington on Jan. 12. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
There’s an easier way to donate to food banks

Grab a green bag, fill it gradually with grocery items — and someone will pick it up from your home.

Lake Stevens man shot by deputies reportedly was suicidal

The fatal shooting is the latest incident where someone apparently wanted police to fire.

Man suspected of robbing Rite Aids

Mill Creek police released a sketch Monday evening of the suspect.

Suspect: Marysville church fire ignited by burning shoelaces

The 21-year-old told police it was an accident, but he’s under investigation for second-degree arson.

Police seek witnesses to Marysville hit-and-run

A Seattle man suffered broken bones in the accident.

Tracking device leads police to bank robbery suspect

The man walked into a Wells Fargo around 3:15 Tuesday and told the teller he had a bomb.

Mayor, others break ground on low-barrier housing in Everett

Somers: The complex is expected to save lives and “really shows the heart of this community.”

Volunteers conduct annual count of homeless population

They worked througha standard set of questions to learn why people have ended up where they are.

Former Everett councilman also sued his employer, the county

Ron Gipson says he suffered racial discrimination related to an investigation into sexual harassment.

Most Read