2019 Commencement Speaker Shares Advice from Graduates

2019 Commencement Speaker Shares the Wise Advice He Received from the Graduates

 

June 4, 2019
Susan Trower

The class of 2019 in the staging room before graduation - Mark Gsellman photoWest Sound Academy's Class of 2019 came to the House of Awakened Culture in Suquamish on May 24 for an evening of graduation and celebration - the school's 18th annual commencement. School faculty and staff and many family, friends, and fellow students came to share the evening with the graduates. Head of School Barrie Hillman reminded everyone that the purpose of commencement was to acknowledge the personal achievements of each of the graduates - these seventeen individual journeys coming together for this celebration.

The graduates come marching in - Mark Gsellman photoMargaret Johnson, Chair of West Sound Academy's Board of Trustees, then introduced John Boyd, the commencement speaker. Boyd is superintendent of Quincy School District in Quincy, Washington, and is in his twenty-seventh year as an educator, working in a variety of settings. A few weeks before commencement Boyd came to West Sound to meet with members of the Class of 2019 to get to know them, then asked each of them this question, "What advice do you have for me when giving this speech?”

John Boyd, commencement speaker - Mark Gsellman photo

 
Boyd then shared some of that advice with the commencement audience.
  • It is easy to look at someone and make assumptions about them. We all have biases that lead us to conclusions about people that may just not be accurate. ...Resist the temptation to stereotype others.
  • Don’t shy away from soliciting feedback and practice being open to receiving it.
  • The future is unpredictable, and failure is OK. Ultimately, you are more than enough.

Boyd told the graduates "You are at the edge of the unknown, about to go places you’ve never been, meet people you’ve never met, and travel on paths that will take you to places you’ve never imagined. This may seem a little scary and you will also, no doubt, experience hardship, pain and failure at some point along this path. But, it is a beautiful place to be."

Trinity Pine giving the last 'The Last Word' speech - Mark Gsellman photoThe next part of the program was the graduates' opportunity to give their own speech: "The Last Word" - a West Sound tradition. Hillman introduced each graduate with a word and a definition, matching each person with the word the epitomized their character and demeanor. There were a fair amount of tears, and graduates recognized those who had helped them along the way: teachers, parents, and other family and friends. They all had words of encouragement and respect for their fellow graduates. "In addition to being the finish line, this is a victory lap. We did it," said Max Morningstar. "...one thing for me is for certain: it is that every person sitting next to me will leave their mark on the world. It is ordinary people like us who do extraordinary things."

The entire senior class performs 'Dancing' in the Ruins' at commencement - Mark Gsellman photoA music ensemble made up of the entire senior class, directed by Paul Burback, performed "Dancin' in the Ruins" by Blue Oyster Cult - the students' last performance as West Sound musicians. Hillman and Johnston then came back to the podium for the highlight of the evening: the presentation of diplomas.

Hillman presented the graduates to the community, then directed them to move the tassels on their mortarboards from the right to the left. These newly-minted WSA alumni marched and danced out to the tune of "Hey Look Ma, I Made It" by Panic! at the Disco, followed by the faculty and guests. Out on the lawn, many cameras and phones captured the moment as the graduates tossed their caps into the air.

To see an album of Mark Gsellman's photos from the 18th Annual Commencement, go to Image Galleries.

 

Congratulations to the Class of 2019!

 

Olivia Bentley - Mark Gsellman photoOlivia Bentley is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate. She is the daughter of Steven and Teresa Bentley of Bainbridge Island.

Olivia will be attending Pacific Lutheran University.

 

Jailee Bishop - Mark Gsellman photoJailee Bishop is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate. She is the daughter of Charles and Hannah Bishop of Bremerton.

Jailee will be attending Olympic College.

 

Maile Danilchik - Mark Gsellman photoMaile Danilchik is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate. She is the daughter of Paul and Heidi Danilchik of Poulsbo.


Maile will be attending Colorado State University. 


Sparky Davis - Mark Gsellman photoSparky Davis is an International Baccalaureate Course Student. He is the son of John Davis of Bainbridge Island and Jennifer Davis of Poulsbo.

Sparky will be attending Western Washington University.  

 

Maizy Goerlitz - Mark Gsellman photoMaizy Goerlitz is an International Baccalaureate Course Student. She is the daughter of Charles and Kim Goerlitz of Poulsbo.

Maizy will be attending Willamette University.

 

Meina Lin - Mark Gsellman photoMeina Lin is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Course Student. She is the daughter of Yunhao Lin and Jinhua Liu of Beijing, China.

Meina will be attending University of Washington.

 

Maike Liu - Mark Gsellman photoMaike Liu is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Course Student. He is the son of Duowei Liu and Yuqin Wang of Beijing, China.

Maike will be attending Central Washington University.

 

Max Morningstar - Mark Gsellman photoMax Morningstar is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate. He is the son of Brian Morningstar and Anne Kearson of Port Townsend.

Max will be attending Tufts University.

 

Doan Truc Nhan Nguyen - Mark Gsellman  photoDoan Truc Nhan Nguyen is an International Baccalaureate Course Student. He is the son of Danh Nguyen and Yen Doan of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Nhan will be attending University of Victoria.

 

Samantha Olson - Mark Gsellman photoSamantha Olson is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate. She is the daughter of Gregory Olson and Tracey Miller of Bainbridge Island..

Samantha will be attending University of Victoria.

 

Eve Park-Ferreira - Mark Gsellman photoEve Park-Ferreira is an International Baccalaureate Course Student. She is the daughter of Justin Ferreira and Jane Park-Ferreira of Poulsbo.

Eve will be working in an apprenticeship at a local business.

 

Shiyi Peng - Mark Gsellman photoShiyi Peng is an International Baccalaureate Course Student. She is the daughter of Hong Can Peng and Fu Li of Foshan, Guangdong Province, China.

Shiyi will be attending University of Connecticut.

 

Trinity Pine - Mark Gsellman photoTrinity Pine is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate. She is the daughter of Travis Pine of Poulsbo and Susanna Pine of Bainbridge Island.

Trinity will be attending Western Washington University.

 

Alena Pulhug - Mark Gsellman photoAlena Pulhug is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate. She is the daughter of Harold and Ingrid Pulhug of Poulsbo.

Alena will be attending University of Victoria.

 

Ellie Swanson - Mark Gsellman photoEllie Swanson is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate. She is the daughter of Chris and Kara Swanson of Poulsbo

Ellie will be attending Ithaca College.

 

Wyatt Weber - Mark Gsellman photoWyatt Weber is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate. He is the son of Peter Weber and Anne Weber of Poulsbo.

Wyatt will be attending Lewis & Clark College.

 

Shangjie Zhou - Mark Gsellman photoShangjie Zhou is an International Baccalaureate Course Student. He is the son of Yong Zhou and HanQiu Wu of Guiyang, Guizhou Province, China.

Shangjie will be attending Oregon State University.

 

 

The Class of 2019 celebrating their graduation with the tossing of the caps - Mark Gsellman photo