Topping out at 19, the graduating Class of 2018 has the most National Merit Scholars in the state of Oregon.

TIMES PHOTO: RAY PITZ - A total of 622 seniors graduated from Westview High School during ceremonies at the University of Portlands Chiles Center Thursday night. As graduating Westview High School seniors gathered outside the University of Portland's Chile's Center Thursday night, many stopped for last-minute selfies with friends or took time to make last-minute adjustments to their caps and gowns.

Some took time to reflect on the night that lay ahead and their high school careers.

One of those students was Idil Osman, who would soon give one of the night's two commencement addresses. She said she planned on speaking about adversity and how best made plans don't always turn out that way but that "even if things don't go your way, it's OK."

TIMES PHOTO: RAY PITZ - For graduating senior Chris Parra, making a video chronicling senior events and achievements was a major highlight of his high school career. Moments later, she would tell graduating seniors about how her life drastically changed with the death of her older sister, a 2013 graduate of Westview, and how life doesn't always turn out as you plan. She spoke too about how the most important things she's learned during her high school career didn't come in a classroom.

"I learned so much from life and it's all because I deviated from the plan," said Osman.

Likewise, graduating senior Chris Parra talked about what he liked most about his high school years

"I gotta say my highlight was connecting with the study body and the administration and getting so involved with my school," said Parra, who was heavily involved with making video filmmaking during his time at Westview and who won a Department of Digital Interactive Media Award.

For Kara Batchelor, one of the best moments of her time as a Wildcat was breaking three physical education records in her junior year by finishing 100 pushups, holding a "plank" position for 9 minutes, 57 seconds and completing 70 bench press reps.TIMES PHOTO: RAY PITZ - Alyssa Uhl, left, Ben Lyman and Nicole Nagasaka pose for a snapshot before ceremonies Thursday night. Both Uhl and Nagasaka, along with several other classmates were wearing leis, gifts from well-wishers.

In two months, Batchelor will head to Chicago for an 8-week U.S. Navy basic training course.

"I'm excited and nervous," she said. "I want to be the first female Navy SEAL."

For Westview social studies teacher Annarose Pandey this was her 12th graduation. She said what she enjoys the most about the annual event are students' reactions to the speeches made by fellow students.TIMES PHOTO: RAY PITZ - In the back halls of the Chile's Center, Drake Gross and Robert Heussner who were both sporting candy necklaces that they planned to snack on during the ceremony.

"I never know what to expect," she said.

Two seniors preparing to get in line before the march into the Chile's Center were Drake Gross and Robert Heussner who were both sporting candy necklaces.

"One of my friend's mom made them," Heussner said. "We're going to snack on them during the ceremony." TIMES PHOTO: RAY PITZ - In two months, Kara Batchelor will be attending basic training for the U.S. Navy. Batchelor ultimately hopes to become the first female Navy SEAL.  A short time later, Principal Jon Franco pointed out what makes the Class of 2018 so distinctive, including the fact that it boasts the largest number of National Merit Scholars in the state — 19.

He then listed the Top 10 things graduates should remember, among them, "It's never too late for an apology" and "You are what you do, not what you say."TIMES PHOTO: RAY PITZ - Seniors await graduation ceremonies Thursday night at the University of Portland's Chiles Center. Soon the speeches and recogntion was over and diplomas were distributed to the 622 Class of 2018 graduates who became part of Westview High history.

TIMES PHOTO: RAY PITZ - Mason Kennedy pauses for a quick photo before marching out to the Chiles Center main floor for graduation. Kennedy said he was the only person he had seen so far Thursday evening wearing shorts beneath his gown.

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