During the pre-ceremony assembly held under cloudy skies a few hours before Saturday night’s Edmonds-Woodway High School commencement, ceremony director David Quinn had two messages for the students. The first was his rousing rendition of “Don’t Stop Believing,” followed by his pronouncement: “It has never rained at an Edmonds-Woodway graduation. And it never will.”
These words from Quinn, who also serves as the school’s International Baccalaureate coordinator, seemed an optimistic but futile gesture, considering the threatening weather. Contingency plans were made: The students were informed that the staff was ready with emergency ponchos, should the unthinkable happen. Which it wouldn’t, Quinn again assured them.
Quinn was correct, the ponchos were not needed. While a light rain did fall just prior to the start of the Class of 2017 commencement, the rain ceased as the students entered Edmonds District Stadium, and stayed away through the ceremony.
The events opened with the Mello-Aires singing the National Anthem, followed by an introduction from EWHS Principal Terrance Mims. Notable guests included Edmonds School District Superintendent Kris McDuffy, who also addressed the students and guests.
The students selected two speakers — graduating senior Cedar Lange and social studies instructor Nick Wellington. Lange entertained the audience as he told his tales of high school as remembered by where he ate lunch. The second student speaker, selected by the staff, was senior Mohammad Khan, who reminisced about his immigration from Pakistan, his struggles to fit in and his eventual interest in student government.
Musical highlights included the Jazz Ensemble 1, which played “Black Hole Sun” as a tribute to late rocker Chris Cornell, and the Mello-Aires, who sang “Glad There Is You,” written by Jimmy Dorsey and Paul Madiera.
Many academic achievements were recognized, including students who also earned an associates degree and students with mastery in a second language. It culminated with six students recognized for having a perfect 4.0 grade point average during all four years at Edmonds-Woodway.
Finally, after presentation of the class by ASB President Kia Mackey, and certification by Principal Mims, the diplomas were presented by Mims and McDuffy.
Following the traditional throwing of hats in the air, the students left the stadium for a gathering in the school courtyard. And as they filed out, the skies remained gray, but rain free. Quinn’s belief and optimism had been vindicated.
— Story and photos by Karl Swenson