Congratulations, Class of 2019!
The 119th graduating class of Centralia High School received their diplomas on Friday evening. Tiger Stadium was fully packed, and the weather was perfect (if not a little chilly) for the first graduating ceremony to be held there in several years.
Salutatorian, Jaelyn Friberg, welcomed graduates, staff, and guests. “Senior year has been whirlwind of chaos,” she said. “We have had to walk around our building instead of through it. We have had to watch the new school being built while knowing we would not be attending classes in it.”
Five valedictorians (Alexa Raish, Kendra Sutton, Danica Jensen, Anastasia Ulrigg, Laura Geringer) delivered valedictions praising the accomplishment of their classmates.
The class enthusiastically encouraged Principal Josue Lowe to treat the attendees by singing a song as he had done during rehearsals. Lowe politely declined the invitation. In his speech to the graduates, Lowe highlighted foreign exchange students from Germany and Kirgizstan. He also congratulated students who had not only successfully completed high school, but who had also earned an Associate in Arts degree from Centralia College at the same time.
Lowe challenged students to “think about those individuals who impacted [them] the most” during their academic careers. He then invited those in attendance to stand if they had played such a role.
Lowe discussed the unique challenge that the Class of 2019 conquered in the face of ongoing construction work at their school. “During the last 14 months we have packed, moved, unpacked, packed, moved, unpacked, and packed, all while completing a 180-day school year,” He said.
“The class of 2019 has demonstrated class and grace at every turn this year…Your attitude has had an impact on me,” Lowe said. He spoke of how easy one can lose focus on important things by fixating on failures and disappointments and admitted to falling victim to that behavior himself. “These things are always right in front of you,” he said. “And then I began to really look around at you…I saw you, I saw your leadership shining, I saw you advocating for each other, I saw your friendships, I saw your passions coming out through your actions,” he told the graduates. “Thank you for helping me focus on what is important.”