At graduation, ‘I will carry all of you in my heart forever’

Riley Anderson delivered this commencement address June 7 at the Darrington High School graduation ceremony. Read more speeches by local graduates.

I really can’t believe I’m here. How did we all become adults so fast?

I look back, to my first day in the first grade, in Cory Ross’s class, and it feels like it was just a week ago. As I look back, I remember all the memories our class has made together.

I remember the big winter coat Elesha always wore in elementary school, even when it was 70 degrees outside. I remember Casandra being the first girl to get braces, and I thought they were so cool … Until I got my own.

I remember growing up with Maddie; eating PB&J sandwiches and stealing her mom’s lipstick. I remember when Chelsea moved here, and then Tyler, and it feels like they’ve been with us since the beginning.

I remember when Quinten moved here. He was really short, and had pink, spiky hair. Now, he’s 6’3”, and only has a few classes left before he gets his two-year college degree. Oh, and he ditched the pink spikes.

I can remember Amy Miles, serving a volleyball for the first time, and hitting it so hard that the ball smacked the wall on the other side of the gym. Her first serve. Ever. I remember Tristyn and Colin in middle school. They both seemed so little then compared to the men they are now. Tristyn, with his long, blonde, curly hair that the girls were jealous of, and Colin, mispronouncing words in science class … Remember, it’s “organism,” Colin.

As we’ve gotten older, Kacey has become less and less shy, and now after getting to know him, I have found that he has the kindest heart.

Then there’s Alex, who doesn’t talk a whole lot, but when he does, it’s something hilarious that Devan hears sitting in front of him in CWP, and then starts laughing uncontrollably. I’ve grown up with Devan, too. I remember when she was in the fourth grade and found out her mom was pregnant. She was so mad. And now, she loves her little sister Danielle more than anyone else in the world.

I remember when Monica could recite whole lasagna recipes at the age of seven, and I couldn’t even figure out how to butter my toast.

I remember Olivia moving here, after begging her parents for years. She made friends immediately, and I’m so happy she is graduating with our class.

We discovered Bryan shouldn’t pursue NASCAR after seeing him drive a go-kart on our senior trip last Monday, but he’s an adventurous guy that wants to get a degree in geology. He said NASCAR is for amateurs, anyways.

I remember when Destiny had her daughter, Kayden, two years ago on June 6. She’s an amazing mother to a beautiful daughter and we are so proud of her.

I remember Ivy working every day on her art portfolio, and then receiving scholarships to the Seattle Art Institute of Seattle.

I remember Jesse Kimble rocking out to the song “Bad to the Bone” in middle school. He has always been the king of rock ‘n’ roll. Bryce is the sweetest at unexpected times. He brought his 82-year-old neighbor, Miss Lee, to our prom last month, because she had never gone to her own.

I can remember picking up Ariel before every DJAA basketball practice, and we would play video games on the way there. I remember when Randy first moved here, and it seems that every year older he gets, the louder he gets. He brings an immeasurable amount of spirit to our class. Garrett’s another guy that moved here later, in eighth grade, and it’s obvious that he was meant to be with us.

Tim has been with us since pre-school, and he’s always been the one to make all of us laugh with what he thought was a simple statement.

Rachel has gone back and forth between home school and public school and these past few years she has developed a love for photography. When I imagine Rachel, it’s always a happy girl with a camera in front of her face.

I can remember being so jealous of Amanda’s pink shimmery lip gloss in elementary school. I think she knew, since she always let me borrow it.

Jason’s another example of a boy that transitioned into a man at lightning speed. I still remember middle school Jason, and now he’s getting married.

I can’t remember a time when Austin ever had free time. Between school, homework and his job, he is constantly busy. He is so hard-working and dedicated.

Josh is a man with a presence, being 6’4” and a football lineman. But, I’ve caught him letting loose, laughing at Colin’s jokes, and I just recently found out he can SING. Who knows, maybe Josh will be the next American Idol.

When I look back at the young girl I used to be, I remember me sitting in front of a karaoke machine, singing loudly, and probably slightly off-key, practicing for when I would make it to Hollywood and become a pop star. Now, I’m getting ready to leave for college, where I will pursue a career that involves helping children. If there’s any singing, it will be on the car ride on the way there!

There are so many different kinds of people in our class, but we stick together, and help one another through both the good and the bad. Despite our differing talents and characteristics, we are all Loggers. And that means that it’s important to all of us that’s we help each other, and our community, when in need.

On March 22, when the mudslide hit, everyone was in shock. We didn’t know what to do or what to say. Our thoughts were scattered, thinking about all of our friends and family that were or could have been affected. We, like everyone else, just wanted answers. As the shock wore off, our class took action.

You could find one of us at any given place in Darrington, helping slide victims, at donation centers, or even down at the site. You could find Josh at the food bank on any given day, and Devan was on the rescue crew and organized supplies at the fire house. Gus was also on the rescue crew every day. Rachel even left school to donate hours helping out at the food bank. I believe that Darrington is a town that values community and hard work, and our class set a prime example for just that. I had never been as proud as I was then, to be a part of this amazing class.

I was chosen to be the voice for my class this year. I wanted to tell you all about every single one of my classmates, and about what we’ve done that makes us stand out. But I can’t.

You can’t know about Monica’s dreams to be an engineer, and the way she cries when she laughs with just one sentence. When I say Ivy is going to Seattle Art Institute, there’s no way for you to know she’ll be a mommy this January. When I talk about how Casandra got braces, there’s no way for you to know that Casandra loves her family more than anything else in the world.

I wish I could show you how incredible each and every one of these people are, but there are no words beautiful enough to paint that picture, and if I tried to write it all down, then I would be reading a novel.

I was chosen to be the class speaker because I am a good writer, but, I’ve never been good at saying goodbye. The class of 2014 has taught me so much. They have given me friendship, taught me compassion, and are leaving me with the best memories. I will carry all of you in my heart forever.

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