Relief for graduates

EVERETT – Tanya Royer, who graduated in hard-earned cap and gown Friday night, is thankful her commencement was moved to the Everett Events Center this year.

It saved the Everett Community College human services graduate from making a decision of Solomon-like proportions.

“How would you choose who gets to go?” she said. “I’m glad I didn’t have to make that decision.”

Instead, Royer, 45, president of EvCC’s United Native American Council, was able to get 15 tickets for her graduation, meeting the needs of family, friends and fellow students.

EvCC departed from tradition to hold commencement exercises in the new events center, as did nine area high schools.

As a school board president and the mother of a senior, Mari Taylor is relieved Lake Stevens High School moved its graduation to the events center June 16.

In the past, each senior was allotted four tickets. This year, each is allowed 10 and can make a written request for more. With a large extended family, her daughter, Sara, will be asking for extra tickets.

Everett Events Center graduations

Nine high schools and Everett Community College have moved graduation ceremonies to the Everett Events Center this year.

Friday: Everett Community College

June 10: Henry M. Jackson High School

June 11: Everett High School and Cascade High School

June 12: Kamiak High School and Mariner High School

June 13: Shorecrest High School and Shorewood High School

June 16: Lake Stevens High School

July 8: Marysville-Pilchuck High School

Last year’s graduation in the Lake Stevens High gym was so packed and hot that the thermal shutoff on the sound system was activated. The district has increasingly larger graduating classes on the horizon.

“People will actually be able to breathe,” Mari Taylor said. “Everyone wants to graduate from their own high school, but it would be sad to graduate if nobody could see you. … I think this is the best solution we could come to. People invest too much into their children’s future.”

Mariner and Kamiak high schools chose the Everett center over the Bank of America Arena on the University of Washington campus where they have had graduation ceremonies in recent years.

The move will save about $3,000, mainly from reduced transportation costs and lower rental fees, while supporting a Snohomish County business and making an easier commute for families, said Andy Muntz, spokesman for the Mukilteo School District.

The Everett School District will have its three major high schools – Cascade, Everett and Henry M. Jackson – graduate at the center next week. The rental cost for all three schools is $5,000, and there will be additional expenses for center staff.

“To have families able to celebrate together an occasion like a graduation certainly is worth it to us,” said Gay Campbell, an Everett School District spokeswoman.

Viki Mirgon, a 43-year-old Everett woman who graduated from EvCC on Friday, would agree.

She tracked down 16 tickets to accommodate three generations of her family, including parents, her husband, children, stepchildren, sister, nieces and others.

Mirgon, who will continue her physics studies at the University of Washington in the fall, was one of EvCC’s two Washington State Academic Team nominees this year, and had lots of proud family on hand.

She shudders at the thought of turning people down if the ticket limit had been four.

“It would have been difficult,” she said. “My dad would have been very upset. My sister and her family would have been very upset, and (others) would have been upset.”

Reporter Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446 or

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