High school graduation always a family affair
High school graduation is always a family affair, and rarely limited to parents or siblings.
So when it came to the 420 graduates in the Beaverton High School class of 2018, large family groups — as many as a dozen in a group, and sometimes more — helped fill most of the 4,800 seats Friday night (June 8) at the Chiles Center at the University of Portland.
Among the spectators were Robert and Lori Conover of Milwaukie, who celebrated the graduation of their granddaughter, Raleigh Brown.
"She is graduating a year early," Lori Conover said.
"She went to her counselor and told her she didn't really like going to school," Robert Conover said. "So what could she do? She got down and studied and graduated a year early, so she did very well. So she's got some drive. And she does anything she sets her mind to. She's got what it takes to make it."
And what are Brown's plans?
"She wants to do something that can't be replaced by robots," said her mother, Sara Brown. "So right now, she's thinking plumbing. People will always need a plumber, and there will always be a need for plumbing. Robots can't do that."
Nearby, Sandra Vang, mother of graduate Kaely Cha, was trying to ride herd not only on her immediate family but also relatives, who sought to stow away bags that were barred from the Chiles Center.
Vang has gone through one graduation with an older son, and three more are in line for future ceremonies – Lilah, a junior; Maleah, a sophomore, and Kira, who is in 6th grade.
"I'm really excited seeing Kaely on the path to adulthood and what the future holds," Vang said. "I know she wants to go to college, but she doesn't know what she wants to major in yet, and she wants some time to think about what she wants to do."
What graduates said
Inside Chiles Center, many of the 420 would-be graduates expressed a range of feelings as they were lining up to proceed in the arena.
"The feeling of graduation hasn't really hit yet. But I'm sure it will when we sit down. It's surreal right now," Reed Migaki said. "Right now, I'm just trying to get through this, one step at a time."
Migaki said some of his relatives were coming from as far away as Seattle.
He plans to attend Portland Community College, where he will study to become a firefighter/emergency medical technician.
Joseph Moll, one of 24 Advanced Placement scholars at the school, plans to major in economics at the University of Oregon and then go to law school.
"It feels great," he said. "It's time to move on to the next chapter of my life."
Keaundra Mitchell was among a small group who wore a white stole over her black robe with the letters AVID. The Advancement via Individual Determination program, which began at the high school in 2013, goes beyond academic preparation to ready students for college and life success. It offers tutoring and motivation, and participants are often the first in their families to attend college.
Mitchell will attend Portland State University "and I am planning to go to medical school after that."
The Class of 2018 is 60 more than in 2017.
Before the students broached the curtains to enter the arena in two rows, many of them greeted Bonnie Heaton, a counselor, and Brad Harvey, a security guard, among the school staffers guiding them for the last time.
"I know them all personally," said Harvey, who is completing 23 years at the school.
Heaton seemed relieved once the procession of students had passed. She's been doing it 15 years "at this school. I'm been doing it many, many years in total."