Corbett celebrates graduating Class of 2022
All of Corbett came out Thursday evening, May 26, to celebrate an amazing group of kids and their accomplishment — graduating high school.
It was an evening marked by a parade of cars decked out in tassels and hand-crafted signs; photographs and diplomas; speeches from classmates and favorite teachers; proud parents who only shed a few tears; beaming smiles from the graduates; and plenty of pomp and circumstance. In the darkened skies of the evening everyone roared as fireworks boomed over Corbett in a fitting send-off for the Class of 2022.
"Graduation is one of my favorite nights," said Principal Kathy Childress. "Everyone in this parking lot worked together to achieve one goal — and we did it."
High schools across the region shook things up for graduation with the pandemic, with necessary social-distancing finding creative ways of altering traditional formats. In Corbett those changes have created a neat set of traditions that seem to have stuck for the Cardinals.
The parade along the Historic Columbia River Highway, beginning in Troutdale, is particularly popular, as it allows Corbett, Springdale, and residents all through the Gorge to cheer on the grads. Even a sprinkling of rain couldn't dim the smiles — seniors held up umbrellas, wore ponchos over their robes, or just reveled in the classic moody Gorge weather.
And the rain cleared up for the most important part of the evening, commencement.
Valedictorians Miller Nelson and Gali Rios Shultz gave speeches.
"We can create change, but only if we are brave enough to be that change," Rios Shultz said.
Class representative Eli West had his classmates and crowd laughing during his speech that touched on a variety of topics perhaps never spoken during a graduation before. His advice for what to do when facing off against a boxer who wants your ice cream cone — offer a trade for his shorts.
"Keep pushing, always look for ways to improve," he added.
There were gift bags for seniors — courtesy Corbett High School Association of Mamas & Papas of Seniors (CHAMPS) — and a raffle with prizes for the beaming parents watching from the parking lot.
After a slideshow of photos and memories of the graduating seniors, and the fireworks, all the kids were bundled into a bus bound for an all-night party hosted by CHAMPS. For the Class of 2022, it was a well-deserved final send off for a group that has been through unbelievably difficult circumstances.
"I know for sure I wouldn't be here without all of you, so thank you," West said.
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