Class of 2000

Welcome to the 2000 Grad Pages. Today, the Editorial Board is putting aside its traditional pages of editorials, letters, columns and cartoons in honor of graduates across Snohomish County.

Here are excerpts from every graduation speech we received from high schools here. These student speakers represent the thoughts, dreams and hopes of every student who just completed this major educational accomplishment.

To read the full text of these speeches, visit us on the Web at

We are the Class of 2000.Some consider us the end of the most tempestuous, change-driven century of the millennium. Others think of us as the hopeful, better beginning of a new. However we are viewed, in truth we are nothing but ourselves. …

We are a diverse group, and accept that diversity wholeheartedly. We all have our own beliefs. We hail from the East Coast, the West Coast and all stops in-between infinity and beyond. …

We are the past and we are the future. We close a door so we can open another. We are the dreams of the past, the energy of the present and the inheritors of the future. We have gone, and will go, farther than the moon to reach for the stars. We will follow a set of paths vastly different from those tread by our ancestors, perhaps even those by our parents, which may cross in the future, or may not.

– Amanda Martin

Lakewood High School

And the No. 1 lesson I have learned in high school is this: The thing that really matters in high school is the people who truly know us, who teach us – whether they’re our teachers or fellow students – who forgive us our mistakes, urge us toward our strengths, and celebrate our victories, large and small. May we all find many of those people in our future lives.

– Maren Bargreen

Everett High School

Just recently, I attended a Memorial Day ceremony, honoring the many veterans who have paid the ultimate price in protecting our freedom and this country. A quote by Abraham Lincoln was read, saying it is the responsibility of the living to ensure that those who have died have not done so in vain.

Do we not, then, have the responsibility to always ensure justice and freedom for all? And do we not also owe it to those veterans that no one else should in the future suffer what they did – to save freedom by bloodshed. We owe it to them to prevent wars, and to know, to understand, to teach, and to learn from our neighbors around the world, so that we might learn to live in peace.

– Olen Ronning

Stanwood High School

Just because we are graduating today does not mean we now know everything; rather, it is just the opposite. As we go out into the world we will continue to grow, to learn, to mature. Indeed, this is perhaps one of the greatest qualities of mankind, that we can develop our minds to better understand. It is a rare and important gift that should not be abused through neglect or halfhearted attention. Never stop trying and never stop learning because the moment you do, you begin to die.

Once you leave here tonight, you will no longer be seniors. You will be adults, set adrift with the entire world at your disposal. It will be up to you, and you alone, to decide your futures. Today more than ever, as we stand at the dawn of the new millennium, you have the opportunity to become something great, to achieve wondrous deeds. There are no limitations, except what you make for yourself.

– Stephanie Bradley

Granite Falls High School

For a moment, think about all the people sitting up in the stands behind us. They are here to celebrate us. Each faculty member, family and friend is here to celebrate that we have all completed 12 years of public education. We are also here to enjoy tonight and to celebrate what we have done. Tonight, think back over what you have achieved in the past 12 years. Each of us, with our individuality and determination, has reached the same goal: tonight, our high school graduation.

We are not merely the Class of 2000. The title implies that the year we graduate in is our achievement. We are all so much more than that. We are WESCO champions, actors, dancers, scholars, skaters and writers. We are each others’ friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, classmates, partners in adventure, partners in misadventure and, of course, Junior TP-night targets. ….

Now, just for this moment, do not focus on what is to come; there will be plenty of time for thinking about that later. It is not about who we are going to be in 10 years, or even in 10 minutes. It is about celebrating who we are without the cap and gown and minus the pomp and circumstance; it is celebrating who we are right now.

– Mikayla Patella

Snohomish High School

Friends: people who share in the good and bad times and lend a shoulder to lean on. They are the basis in which memories are created and everlasting bonds are tied. …

When I look back on all the good, bad, high and low times over the past four years, I realize that my friends have always been present. Whether it was through a simple note, phone call or a comforting hug, my friends pulled me through, no matter what. Together, we have fought for our place in high school. …

Friends have always been a part of my life that I could never live without. I truly believe that they are a major source of my motivation and my will to carry on in life.

Remember, in the years to come, if you ever need someone to make you laugh when you are sad, make you smile when you are crying, tell you the brutal, honest truth or help you see your dreams come true; your friends will always be there. I wish you all, my fellow graduates, a future full of cherished friendships.

– Christin Van Ess

Arlington High School

I stand before you tonight because of love – love that was given to me and displayed in its purest, sacrificial form. This evening, I would like to share with you how that love has changed my life.

When my parents enrolled me at Grace Academy 13 years ago, they recognized the fact that the value of a Christian education is far greater than a new house or car. The material possessions that they have forfeited through the years have allowed me to remain in an environment in which I can see Christ lived out every day. For the sacrificial love that my parents have displayed, together with the parents of all my class members, I am exceedingly grateful.

The teachers here at Grace display love to us students as well.

– Kristen Jorgenson

Grace Academy

Tonight we all are here together crossing the bridge that our parents, teachers and elders have built for us. It’s now our time to venture out into the world and build our own bridges for the next generation.

We would now like to take a moment to recognize a lost classmate, an aspiring young musician, Randy McKernan, who left us during the summer of 1996. Please join us now in observing a moment of silence for Randy.

Thank you, God bless and congratulations Class of 2000!

– Monique Lucier

Lea Legare

Jessica Hebert

Arlington High School

I am sure by now we have all heard that question, "What are you going to do after high school?" Some of you do have definite plans and know exactly what you are going to be doing. But, if you are anything like me, you have probably rolled quite a few things around in your head and you have a pretty good idea of what you might do.

Maybe all you have thought about is getting the heck out of here and meeting new people. But no matter what you do or whoever you meet, those new people and places are going to have one less thing in common with you. They won’t know what is was like going to a small school and knowing everybody’s face, or running to the lunch line on Wednesday for a hoagie, or hatching corny skits for assemblies or marching in the parade at Homecoming. All of us in this room tonight have something in common, and high school is not something you forget.

– Laura Harrett

Lakewood High School

Growing up is an intimidating thing: a large, never ending cycle that we cannot slow nor stop but can only dig in deep with both hands and try to make an impact when we have the chance. Now, while we step into the leadership positions and train our children to inherit the future, we have that chance. When the time arrives, we must love and pay proper attention to our children and their lives. For it takes more than a breadwinner to raise a healthy child, it takes a loving and concerned parent.

– Lacey Leavitt

Lake Stevens High School

The Class of 2000. How long have we heard these words applied to us? Long years starting with broken crayons in kindergarten to inside-out sweatshirts in middle school to late English essays – 13 years of learning from the simplest counting to complicated algebra and calculus, from reciting our ABCs to reading Shakespeare. …

During our freshman year at an assembly, I heard words that both terrified and amazed me. A senior took a moment to address our class and said something to the effect of "It all goes by so fast. It seems like only yesterday I was a freshman." Four years ago, so were we. Sixteen counted quarters ago, so were we. Yesterday has passed.

– Noell Bernard

Cascade High School

For once, we all look the same. We all have our blue gowns, our hats and our tassels. But, even though we may look the same now, it is our differences that make us who we are. I believe that each one of us is valuable and has something worthwhile to contribute to society. When I first wrote this speech, I wasn’t certain what I should say or how I should say it but I found this quote by Britta Fiksdal that, I feel, sums up my thoughts nicely:

"Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be – because you only have one life and one chance to do all the things that you want to do."

– Kristin Adams

Arlington High School

Ironically, as we gather here today, the world seems at once large and incomprehensible, yet at the same time inordinately small. We cry out to the world through our modern technology, and our voices echo back, instantaneously, by satellite and computer. But an immense and undiscovered future lies before us, untouched, waiting to be explored. The empires of the future are, indeed, the empires of our mind, and we enter that mysterious realm with all of our hopes and dreams ahead. We cannot help but wonder how that will all play out.

– Lawrence R. Stewart

Snohomish High School

One of my favorite books when I was little was "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak. I’m sure many of you here tonight are quite familiar with it. It is about a young boy named Max who loves to dress up in his wolf suit and cause trouble. When his mother disapproves, Max creates a world of make-believe with his imagination in which he is king of all wild things. Here he is accepted and revered for his savage behavior. I loved it in my younger days because of the pictures of the big monsters and was jealous of the boy who got the chance to live with them. I always wanted to be that boy. To be a "wild thing," carefree, with no responsibilities or authority figure to answer to. …

Take this experience and utilize it towards your future, because I guarantee you that what lies ahead for us is gonna make being a wild thing look like a walk in the park. Thank you.

– Zack Anderson

Monroe High School

Garrett Meyer: "The better part of one’s life consists of his friendships" – Abraham Lincoln. As the end of my high school career approached, I began to think of all the good times that I have had. Even though the experiences were all different, they all had a common thread, my friends. Every good memory I have includes the company of at least one of my friends.

Matthew Horak: Life is made up of relationships. Throughout high school, we have made many friends. Whether we choose to keep those relationships or not, we must cherish the good and learn from the bad. I am grateful for my relationships with my family and friends. As we continue on through life, I hope we continue to learn this lesson, and realize our relationship with Jesus Christ is most important.

– Matthew Horak

Garrett Meyer

Stanwood High School

Here, in this day’s waning light, we are gathered to commemorate the graduation of Snohomish High School’s Class of 2000; and as this evening’s setting sun descends beyond our Western-most horizon, the sun is, moreover, setting on our tenure as students at Snohomish High School. Just as day gives way to night, high school must give way to a new course in life, one that introduces an abundance of responsibilities and brings with it enormous possibilities.

Alexander Graham Bell once stated, "When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us." In this momentous transition from high school to college, vocational training, employment and the armed forces, dwell not on the life being left behind but look instead to future residences, friendships and accomplishments. Memories are everlasting. In these final hours, paint the pictures in your mind of everything and everyone you wish never to forget. Encapsulated in the brain, the happiest moments of your life and the faces of loved ones exist in eternal illumination unaffected by this day’s dimming light.

So when this sun finally falls below the horizon, look not to the darkness left in its absence. Turn your back on the void, empty sky and look to the East, for it promises a new day. In the steadfast vigil for tomorrow’s rising sun, acknowledge the hopes and dreams you harbor deep within. In the light of the new day dawning, find the strength and courage to pursue your own destiny.

– Lanae Kay Miner

Snohomish High School

There is a young lady graduating tonight who woke up at 6 a.m. on many Saturday mornings to feed the homeless at the Seattle Gospel Mission. To her, sacrificing a couple of hours of sleep on the weekend was worth making a positive impact on the hungry and lonesome. She did not let the opportunity to help those less fortunate pass her by.

How about the young man graduating tonight who paid little attention to studying or his grades until his junior year? As a senior he not only improved on his GPA, but put countless hours helping with the senior auction, Mr. LHS, and Prom. He took the opportunity to help his school and his class. I cannot forget to mention the Key Club members who worked long hours in unpleasant weather collecting canned food to give to families in our in our community.

These are just some examples of how students have reached out to opportunities that took them out of their comfort zone. Many of us become so comfortable in our place that we do not want to help or reach out for fear that we might lose what we already have. We become content in doing the same thing over and over again. We try to justify our reasons for not doing anything by telling ourselves that someone else will do it or by questioning our ability.

– Amir SAdeghi

Lynnwood High School

‘Pat’s Graduation Song"

… All the bad things we did Pic didn’t see

We cut some class, but somehow we all passed

High school was lots of fun, but I’m glad that we’re done

And maybe in 10 years, we’ll come back with gray hair

Pregnant or married, our reunion sure sounds scary

Say that it is so it’s time to go

We made it somehow we’re graduates now

Na, na, na, na……

– Patrick Ringland

Stanwood High School

What is a teacher? After 13 years of school, believe me, I have an extremely good idea of what a teacher is. Trust me, I know. Two teachers began to teach me, my father and my mother. The poet Ann Taylor wrote, "Who taught my infant lips to pray, And love God’s holy book and day, And walk in wisdom’s pleasant way? My Mother."

… (T)hrough all the memories, I was trying to think of one characteristic of teachers that has shown through the many years. I thought about their dedication, patience and guidance but decided that these wouldn’t do. A teacher cannot be described in one word. A teacher is someone who has prepared himself in order to impact his students with the wisdom that he has learned from his teachers.

– Joan Engstrom

Arlington Christian School

We are excited about what lies ahead, yet some of us are filled with uncertainty about our futures. But we all have one thing in common: We have just begun to search for our hopes and dreams. …

Without a doubt, the biggest challenge I have faced in my life is adapting to life without my father. Watching my family start a new life after his death has made a big impact on me. This tragedy has encouraged me not to take life for granted, and to grab every opportunity that life has to offer. It has taught me to take a chance in life. It has shown me how suddenly life can change and how fragile it really is. Life is precious, be thankful for what you have, and try and make the most of it. Each of you should take a moment to reflect on your past, to remember those who have helped you get here tonight: your parents, your teachers and your friends. Hold on to these memories that are precious to you.

– Jennifer Fitzgerald

Cascade High School

Everett Alternatives is a school that lifts us up and celebrates our unique qualities. We have had a channel for our voices – voices that may have been drowned out in the other crowded schools from which we came. For helping us find our strengths and our voice, we have a great number of people to thank. First, we need to appreciate the value placed on public education by the people of our country and most especially by the people of this district. Second, we need to thank the entire staff of Everett Alternatives for encouraging us, standing by us and strengthening our skills to get us to this point in our lives. Above all, we, the Class of 2000, would like to thank our parents, mentors and friends for putting up with us during all the awkwardness of our growing up. Personally, I would like to thank God, for there are times that I thought I might never be graduating and He never left my side. …

We are prepared to graduate and are grateful to all of you for being here to celebrate with us.

– Brandon Keith-Widick

Everett Alternatives High School

We are to leave here today with a new set of wings. Wings of which we have crafted through our years of attending school. Some will soar high with their strong wings built of good personality and hard work; others will glide through life needing repairs. If we leave here today with one thing, let it be the power to achieve the goals that we’ve set forth for ourselves. …

It’s now time for us all to build our own lives and express our true individuality. Think for a moment about all that we’ve accomplished; we’re a strong group of kids with a world of hope waiting for our true colors to shine through. Together we’re a rainbow in the sky. …

Take time to thank all those who have been there for you and helped your journey run more smoothly. Take time to thank your family for being strong and holding you up, and especially take time to thank yourself for only being the individual you are. The person that you’ve crafted over 12 years of schooling. …

I will now wish my classmates good-bye for the school days and hello for a new beginning.

– Beth Hanby

Granite Falls High School

Different people can reach happiness in so many different ways, but to everyone it is all that really matters. At this point in our lives it’s difficult not to think that happiness is had by material products – the newest technology, the nicest clothes around, or that car you probably aren’t getting for graduation. But we must not lose sight of what really should make us happy.

To obtain this goal you must be true to yourself and listen with your heart and mind. No matter how often you fell asleep during the movies in class, or maybe just when the teachers kept on talking, you learned more than you probably think. You learned not only from others but from yourself as well, by the decisions you made, the sports and clubs you enjoyed and the friends who stayed by your side. To further discover what will keep a smile on your face and give you a good laugh, keep your proper goals in mind.

As Mark Twain once stated, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the tradewinds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

– Jaimie Stark

Lynnwood High School

Fourteen years ago I remember saying, "Mommy, why can’t I go on the school bus with Nikki?" Years later it was, "Mommy, I don’t want to ride the school bus anymore." Then we all know what came next, "Mommy, can I drive to school?" It all went so fast as I grew up having my first boyfriend in first grade; then growing up with him; seeing the same faces for 14 years, friends that have come and gone. It is going to be very hard to part with them all. …

I know that every single classmate of mine can remember all of the wonderful teachers we have had, who have gotten us here now. Everyone says they had a favorite teacher, but I loved all mine. … But I will say "Thanks" to all the wonderful teachers that taught my classmates and me. We never thought that this day would come.

– Tessa Bunkelman

Granite Falls High School

The year 2000 has been anticipated since 1982, when our mothers and fathers looked at us as newborns and said, "Hey, our baby is going to graduate in the year 2000." Well, Mom and Dad, your babies have grown up!

This is a special date and an exciting time of our lives, and as we move into this next stage let us never forget the experiences that we have had. I encourage everyone to appreciate not only the uniqueness of our generation but the uniqueness of others. As we go our separate ways, embrace diversity, meet new people and listen to different perspectives.

– Justin Steele

Stanwood High School

The year 2000 marks an era of new beginnings, bold adventures and a fading memory of the Y2K bug – that had no bite. Years from now, when we look back on our senior year, we’ll remember saying good-bye to the 20th century and welcoming in a new millennium. A year of good friends, hard work and planning for the future. …

As we look back on our senior year, we will remember it as the year the voters of Arlington passed a new school bond creating the promise of a new high school. The year our girls’ basketball team went to state, and our football team went undefeated in league. …

Tonight as we go our separate ways, let’s not forget that we have the ability to be whatever we want to be. To climb mountains, to reach the stars, to stretch as far as we can imagine. Our only limitations are those that we bring upon ourselves. The old adage is true: "A ship in a harbor is safe – but that is not what ships were built for." Go for it, you have nothing to lose. In times of indecision remember Yoda and his timeless wisdom – "Do or do not, there is no try."

– Blake Hilty

Arlington High School

Civilization is our humanity and what makes us human makes us think. We must be educated so that we can be the best we can be as human beings, so that we can create justice, understanding and compassion.

Now that we are embarking on the rest of our lives, I challenge you to never stop thinking or learning. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said in "Tender is the Night": "Either you think or else others have to think for you and take power from you." When we stop thinking, we lose the power that makes us uniquely human. So whether you’re going to a university, or a community college, whether you’re going in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines, whether you plan to start working or pursue some type of vocational education never stop learning. The world is more than grades, more than stuff in the books. The world is a powder keg of knowledge and we all are the fuses.

What we do is so important, we will affect people’s lives and their happiness. And our humanity and education is what will decide whether we are kind or cruel, fair or not.

– Calaera Dollar

Cascade High School

Friends, these last four years have been some of the best of our lives. We’ve made lifelong companions, been part of some great activities and we’ve all matured in so many ways. They have also served to teach us things about ourselves that will probably guide the course of the rest of our lives.

A short time ago I came across a phrase that I think applies to us right now and I feel that it really embodies what we each have to strive for as individuals. It is based off of a verse found in the book of Philippians chapter 3, verse 14, and it reads: "Every calling is great when greatly pursued." I am sure that every one of us has had a person in their life who has embodied this statement. I know that for me it was my grandfather who passed away just two years ago. He was an amazing man who followed his calling with a stout dedication. His shining example has taught me so much. Each of us has our own calling in this world. If we could just put forth the effort to truly pursue that calling, to chase after it with a passion and give it our best no matter the difficulty, we could all achieve such amazing things. It doesn’t matter whether we think our calling is great or small, if we each put our hearts into our own calling, this world would be forever a better place.

– Tyson Schey

Stanwood High School

Depending on who you talk to, you get different opinions on what subject that you’ve studied in high school will help you most out in the real world. Ms. Harney tried to tell you it’s being able to diagram sentences and understand Shakespeare. Mr. Gann, on the other hand, has a picture of a toppling bridge that says "Engineer missed just one Trig assignment." If you’ve spent a lot of time staring at Mr. Soward’s podium during lectures, you’ve read that "He who knows only his own generation remains always a child." But what does this all mean, how do we truly apply everything we’ve learned in the past four years to the rest of our life, and what really is the most important thing to take away with us from high school? Well, I’ll tell you my opinion:

This diploma that we will all receive in a few minutes doesn’t just represent the facts we’ve memorized or the skills we’ve developed. I think the most important thing we can take away with us from Lakewood High School is our experiences that have shaped our lives.

– Emily Meier

Lakewood High School

We, the Class of 2000, have been through many changes and have learned many new things. We have grown up in a world of computers, Internet, space discoveries, cloning and other technological advances.

Just think back to when you were in first grade and wanted to call a friend on the phone. First you had to go in search of a phone and the phone number. Once this was accomplished you had to turn the dial, which took forever. And when you finally got the number dialed, you ended up getting a busy signal.

Well, times have changed a lot since we were in first grade. Now all you have to do is take out your cell phone, hit speed dial and, thanks to call waiting, can talk with your friend right then. If phones have come this far since we were in first grade, imagine what the phones will be like when this year’s first-graders are graduating.

Our world is rapidly changing and even though we have come a long way, we still have even farther to go. What’s next is up to us. We are the generation and the class that will bring our world farther.

This is a new millennium and a new start.

– Jennifer Johnson

Arlington High School

I went to Oak Heights Elementary and have spent the last 12 years with the same group of people. Attending school with the people I’ve known since elementary and middle school, and making homecoming posters with them for four years in a row, has given me a chance to get to know the people around me better than I ever thought I would. Although we are not going to the same college or have the same future career plans, they will remain with me in my heart and I expect to see them in 10 years at our reunion.

– Amy Wilson

Lynnwood High School

What would we be without all the things we have experienced at Snohomish? The traditions that have carried us through the past four years. …

We are all so willing to run away from this town. As we are graduating, we need to think about all the things Snohomish has provided for us that we have taken for granted. Though it is a town which we all have wanted to get away from at one time or another, Snohomish has handed us so many friends and experiences that have changed us from nave freshmen to what we are today. Though we may not know what the future holds, we can be assured that somehow this school that we are now leaving has prepared us for whatever the future has in store.

– Andrea Molloy

Snohomish High School

For the moment, please do not dwell on the past or even look into the future, there’s time for that later. Instead, I ask that you give up a few minutes of your lives to sit back, let that gown flow and enjoy the final curtain call of your high school career. Enjoy the sights and sounds of today, right now; and be aware of the mindfulness opening your senses and releasing your inhibitions can summon. …

Finally, take a deep breath, and smile at that wonderful smell: the aroma of relief. After years of following the path of public schooling, I invite you to welcome the liberation that comes from graduation. This sugary aroma only comes once in a lifetime. Capture it with your sense of smell. Remember it in the years to come.

– Nathan Yee

Lynnwood High School

Our scrapbooks are filled with memories from the first day we walked into these halls … to this very night. Pictures crammed in, ticket stubs nestled between them, adorned by dried corsages and newspaper clippings, yellowed with every fond recollection.

The smiling pictures are the friends we’ve made in high school. Friends are what make life special. Every person we encounter has a definite effect on our lives. If one face in our scrapbook were missing, a part of our lives would disappear also.

Remember the football game where you finally got the fight song right? That’s your ticket stub. Maybe it was the musical that you rehearsed months for. Or cheering at the state basketball tournament. Or maybe you remember the hard practices in the rain. Look back on your ticket stub and see how well we played, how much applause we received and maybe just how close we were to winning. We look back and remember how good it was – together.

– Erica Olson

Everett High School

It’s hard to believe that we are actually sitting here in the auditorium for the last time as students of Everett High. But we are! We made it through four years of high school. Now we are teetering on the edge of the rest of our lives, having to grow up and head out into the "real" world. That thought might scare some people, but we are ready. After all, if you decide that you don’t want to be a part of the real world, maybe, you can always come back to Everett High and maybe they will let you be a teacher.

Remember the first day you stepped foot onto the Everett High School campus, and how awestruck you were by the size of the seniors? Not only were they tall, they were enormous. I wonder if we had that same effect on the freshmen? I am sure that I didn’t.

– Karen Juhl

Everett High School

Think of one person who has inspired you, someone who you look up to and admire; someone who has done impressive things in their life. This person is someone that you will never forget.

Now realize that that person has had to put in a great deal of work and time to achieve great things in their life. Know that nothing worth having or achieving comes easily. People like these can be hard to come by, but as students of Arlington High School, we have been extremely fortunate to have access to an entire staff of eager, ambitious and passionate teachers.

Over our years here at AHS, many of us have been encouraged by one, if not more, of these extraordinary people. Perhaps when I asked you to think of that person who has inspired you, it was one of your teachers. These are the people who make a difference in the world.

– Bryan Johnson

Arlington High School

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