Scenes from the Jackson High School graduation ceremony at Angel of the Winds in Everett, Washington on Saturday, June 17, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Scenes from the Jackson High School graduation ceremony at Angel of the Winds in Everett, Washington on Saturday, June 17, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Graduation Day: Seniors in Everett celebrate with 3 separate ceremonies

Over 1,200 seniors from Everett, Jackson and Cascade high schools hold commencement exercises at Angel of the Winds Arena.

EVERETT — Approximately 1,200 students from three Everett high schools graduated Saturday during three different ceremonies Saturday at Angel of the Winds Arena.

At around 11 a.m., more than 500 Henry Jackson High School seniors, the largest graduating class in Everett Public Schools, filed into the arena wearing dark green caps and gowns. Friends and family members were present to cheer their graduates.

“It’s been an incredible year,” Jackson High School Principal Lance Balla said. “Our students have done amazing work and accomplished incredible things. I’m just really, really excited to be here to honor them today.”

Among the achievements from Jackson’s senior class: 29 valedictorians graduating with a 4.0 GPA, 26 graduating with associate degrees, more than 150 graduates were listed on the honor roll, and others received a multitude of sport accolades, Balla said.

Student speaker Sophie Dickert, who served three years as Associated Student Body president at Jackson, assured her peers that who they are much more than their academic achievements.

Scenes from the Everett High School graduation ceremony at Angel of the Winds in Everett, Washington on Saturday, June 17, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Scenes from the Everett High School graduation ceremony at Angel of the Winds in Everett, Washington on Saturday, June 17, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

“You are much more than a grade, you are more than an SAT score and certainly more than a GPA,” Dickert said during her speech. “What defines you is your character and the impact you leave on others. So be kind, be compassionate, help others.”

At 3 p.m., 299 Everett High School seniors entered the same arena floor in their royal blue cap and gowns.

Much like other graduating classes this year, the high school experience for Everett seniors included the unprecedented COVID pandemic.

Madison McNeal-Martinis, valedictorian and varsity girls wrestling team captain, described the graduation day as “bittersweet.”

“I feel like the ends come faster since we missed a whole year of high school, McNeal-Martinis said. “I feel like I missed out on some of the stuff we would have done otherwise.”

Everett senior Hector Cabrera Hernandez delivered the student welcome speech in both Spanish and English.

“My speech is more about the lessons I learned, and created it so everybody can somewhat feel connected to it,” Hernandez said.

Cascade graduates held their commencement at the downtown Everett arena Saturday evening.

Maya Tizon: 425-339-3434;; Twitter: @mayatizon.

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