Schools hold Saturday ceremonies

by: HOLLY M. GILL - Madras High School seniors Joe Hisatake and Cristal Valerio make their entrance during the June 8 graduation ceremony in the high school stadium. MHS graduated 145 students this year.With temperatures reaching nearly 90 degrees, Madras and Culver high schools celebrated their graduates at afternoon ceremonies on Saturday.

Madras High School graduated 145 students, up from 136 in 2012, but substantially lower than the school's peak of 177 graduates in 2008.

However, the MHS football stadium bleachers and chairs were filled, as usual, with attendees spilling over onto the grass for the 2 p.m. outdoor ceremony.

The Madras High School Band played for the processional and national anthem, followed by presentation of colors by the MHS JROTC color guard, and a welcome by Principal Sarah Braman-Smith.

Math teacher Deanne Petersen-Hair was chosen by students as the guest speaker. She told students to "live, laugh and love."

"Find what makes you happy and then do it," said Petersen-Hair, who advised students to make an effort to keep in touch with friends and classmates.

by: HOLLY M. GILL - Senior speakers Stephanie Garcia, left, and Kaitlyn Carter address their MHS classmates at graduation June 8."Laughter and friendship truly is food for the soul," she said.

Honor students Kaitlyn Carter and Stephanie Garcia were the student speakers, who offered thanks to parents, teachers, staff and principals for helping get students through school.

"As someone once said, 'All that stands between a graduate and the top of the ladder is the ladder itself,'" said Garcia.

Senior Clea Ibrahim sang "Breakaway," and Anita Davis, the "Lord's Prayer," with traditional sign language by seniors Lisa Ike-Lopez and Ashley Welden.

by: BILLY GATES - Culver High School's class of 2013 poses for a photo.At Culver High School, family and friends of the graduates celebrated the 40 graduates in the class of 2013 with commencement in the CHS gym.

The graduating class was the smallest since 2006. Last year, Culver graduated a record number — 51 students.

Graduating students took charge of the program, with a welcome by Jahnie Cleveland and Maria Sanchez, and invocation by Micheala Miller and Cristal Munoz. A total of thirteen seniors were involved in the program.

Senior Cassie Fulton sang the national anthem, and senior Stephanie Whiteside sang "My Wish."

Seniors Hannah Lewis, assisted by Lori Sandy and Maria Sanchez, presented a slide show of photos of the class from their early years on.

Sandy also gave the valedictorian address, followed by the salutatorian address by Kyle Belanger.

by: HOLLY M. GILL - Madras High School's new graduates from the class of 2013 toss their caps.The only adult in the program lineup, other than the presenters of the class and diplomas, was retiring language arts teacher Jennifer Stenkamp, who gave the commencement address, and advised and encouraged students on the next stage of their lives.

Seniors Ryan Fritz and Misael Morales gave the benediction, and Ashley Wilda and Sabrina Navarro, the closing.

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