Chimacum graduates display determination, dexterity, resilience | Class of 2022

Posted 6/16/22

After four years together, and for many Chimacum graduates even more than that, the tight-knit group closed its final chapter of a high school career full of changes and many ups and downs.

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Chimacum graduates display determination, dexterity, resilience | Class of 2022


After four years together, and for many Chimacum graduates even more than that, the tight-knit group closed its final chapter of a high school career full of changes and many ups and downs.

But the one constant that endured past the adversity of endless mounds of homework, a newly-combined athletic program, or dealing with a two-year pandemic, was family.

Mounds of confetti and errant graduation caps littered the McCurdy Pavilion stage at Fort Worden as the young adults crossed the bridge into a new stage of life, with a tidal wave of applause from admiring friends and family members echoing throughout the venue.

With a massive, neon 2022 sign behind them, 56 seniors beamed with pride and jubilation following the major milestone.

Faculty-elected speaker and Chimacum graduate Jacob Constable kicked off the speeches with congratulations to his classmates, and to the family, friends, and supporters who helped get them to the finish line.

“I would like to thank everyone here for supporting the young adults who are graduating today. The past years have been tough, and I don’t mean COVID, I mean all of it; schools, jobs, and everything else,” Constable said. “But we are here on this stage today, and that’s what matters.”

He reminded his classmates to take a moment to commend themselves for all their hard work, and to not get bogged down by the challenges before and the obstacles to come.

“It’s easy to only remember the roadblocks and potholes along the last 13 years. But let’s take a moment to think back to how you solved whatever problem that you got stuck on,” he said.

“You need to embrace the efforts that you put into every single thing that you do. You don’t have to constantly tell yourself, ‘Good job,’ but you just simply need to acknowledge the efforts that you put in. If you fall off a horse, at least you got back up.

“It’s not about trying to please other people – that is part of it – but not as much as trying to make yourself happy. You don’t need to worry about every single person’s happiness. You need to make yourself happy, embracing the things that make you happy and the things that you enjoy,” Constable added.

Student-elected speaker Tiffany Bell discussed the profound bond built between the classmates as they navigated through high school, and the family forged through the years.

“For four long years, we have been in high school. Although the last two months have slipped away in the blink of an eye, four years is a pretty long time,” Bell said. “And it’s long enough for us to look around at each other today and realize that this Class of 2022 has become a family.”

“Now, I would argue that while maybe we aren’t truly ‘friends,’ anyone with siblings can tell you as I can, that living with a bunch of other kids does not make you friends. It does, however, make you a family,” Bell added.

Bell advised her peers that what Chimacum High lacks in size, it makes up for in deep connection and familiarity with each other.

“It’s not common for people to be able to look at their graduating class and know everyone’s names. Graduating classes of hundreds and thousands don’t have that luxury. We know each other,” she said. “Now, as we go through the doorway into our future, we can always remember the home we’ve had, the family we made.”

Viola Phillips Frank took the podium next as the honorary student speaker, asking the graduates to find gratitude and urging them to pass forward the torch of appreciation.

She started off by acknowledging the sometimes under-appreciated school staff that keep things running smoothly.

“As this year’s graduating class remembers those who have made a difference in our lives, the names that come to mind might be our parents, coaches, and teachers, and rightfully so; they have taught and mentored us throughout school,” Phillips Frank said.

“However, we sometimes forget the other staff, many of whom we may never speak to or even see, who make it so that we have a clean, safe, and productive place to learn each and every day. Counselors and kitchen staff, secretaries and nurses, custodians, bus drivers, and class and club advisors.”

Referencing National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, Phillips Frank beckoned her classmates to find gratitude and continue to be brave in the face of adversity.

“Regardless of whether you’re graduating today, in a few years, or walked triumphantly across the stage decades ago, keep this in mind: Gratitude is a choice. Appreciation is a choice,” she said.

“You have the power, each and every day, to give thanks to those who warrant your praise. And remember; just as you can thank those who sparked a flame in you, so too may you pass forward a glowing ember.”

Class president and salutatorian Ava Vaughan-Misfud spoke to the power of resilience when plans go awry.

Reading a line from Scottish poet Robert Burns’ poem, “To a Mouse,” she gave her contrasting perspective on the poem’s bleak outlook on the uncertainty of life and futility of foresight.

“As I reflect on the past four years of high school, Burns’ words ring true, but they disregard one crucial quality of human existence; a quality that has prompted us all to rebuild our nests and has propelled us onto this stage today. An ineffable, powerful force we often call resilience,” Vaughan-Misfud said.

Delving into the ill-fated results of stringent planning, the graduate returned to the power of resilience.

“My plan was everything Robert Burns had described nearly 250 years ago. It was a scheme destined to leave grief and pain for promised joy. Yet, everything worked out for the best,” she said. “How could it be that despite my failed plans, and in the face of such difficult challenges, I — and indeed the rest of my class, emerged victoriously? As I suggested, the answer is astonishingly clear; resilience.”

Shared valedictorian Eugenia Phillips Frank shared the power of words and actions, and urged her peers to challenge authority and bring change to the world as part of the new generation.

“Some people, including myself, are proud to have sharpened and honed our words into the most effective tool we have,” Phillips Frank said. “Let the power of the right words not be understated. Let us not ever forget that words have both laid the foundation for great societies and swung the hammer that brings empires crashing down.”

“No matter how high our rhetoric soars, true impact will always lie in that crucial final step: the action. And so, we recognize the sparkling truth of this momentous day. As members of Chimacum’s 104th graduating class and as newly-minted adults, we can finally seize ownership of the action we long for each time authority lets us down,” she added.

Phillips Frank urged the graduates to vote, protest, and boycott for the good causes they hold dear.

“When words alone fail, do not blame the words. Reflect on them, then wrap them up carefully, put them in your pocket for safekeeping, and act,” she said.

“You will always be louder that way, and you’ll have your words right by your side when it comes time to call upon them once more. But for now, your piece of the action awaits. Claim it.”

Shared valedictorian Micajah Shiflett wrapped up the speeches by addressing the graduates’ perseverance in the face of constant challenges, and ability to rise above the circumstances.

As a younger generation, we have been faced with constant changes that we lack control over, and it is our response to these circumstances that define our present lives, as well as what is to come,” Shiflett said.

Referencing the COVID-related adversity the students faced on a daily basis, he praised the Class of 2022 for rising above.

“The one-way halls, the temperature gauge every day before school, the COVID tests; these necessary precautions all made school repetitive and tedious, more than school had ever been before. There was simply no alternative,” Shiflett said.

“And yet, throughout all the torment, all the stress from both the social and physical world, we persevered. Instead of giving up on ourselves and blaming our problems, we continued to push through and follow our dreams.”

“Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley rang through the halls of the pavilion as the graduates popped confetti all over the stage in celebration, eagerly awaiting the next chapter of life.


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