Thursday night saw the community come together in recognition of Weed High School’s graduating class of 2019 with the wise words of Franklin D. Roosevelt decorating the stage – “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”

 Thursday night saw the community come together in recognition of Weed High School’s graduating class of 2019 with the wise words of Franklin D. Roosevelt decorating the stage – “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”

The event, which also featured a performance from 2019 graduate Sonia Ferguson and the Weed High School choir, saw the Cougar faculty say goodbye to English teacher Caroline Scott, who departed after leaving a lasting impression on staff and students alike over her time at the school.

The ceremony began with a speech from the class of 2019’s salutatorian, Alissa Chilson, who preached thanks for the community and their sustained support over the past four years. Chilson, who also served in various leadership roles including that of the Associated Student Body Treasurer throughout her time as a Cougar, described the momentous occasion as being bittersweet.

“While we get to walk today, and not come back to school tomorrow, we must also face the fact that soon, we won’t be able to wake up in the same bed that we have been in for the past 18 years,” Chilson said.

The 2019 WHS Salutatorian went on to address her fellow graduates, saying that “although we all get along and we truly are a family, I know that, after tonight, I may not speak to many of you ever again.”

Chilson ended on a positive note, stating that “On this day, June 6, 2019, we are no longer high schoolers. We get to move on and become one of you, a part of our community.”

The first of Weed High School’s co-valedictorians, Justin Robles, discussed the class of 2019’s independent nature, joking that, over the past four years, the class had been unable to make cohesive decisions on anything, with Robles sarcastically repeating the statement “and I mean anything!” Nonetheless, Robles found that the conflicting views allowed the class to “persevere through difficult times and situations, when we’ve all been forced to work together.” He proceeded to state that the past four years had been “a means to an end” beaming confidence in his pears and their potential for success, describing the class of 2019 as “a group of leaders.”

Chief among this aforementioned group of leaders was Jonathan Pfleger, who, much like Chilson, featured prominently in student government during his high school career.

As one of the highest achieving students in this year’s graduating class, Pfleger took advantage of the opportunity to speak at graduation, stressing the thought it took to find words to describe their time spent at Weed High School. “Throughout the years we have grown and developed a strong sense of individuality, while also learning to work as a team,” stated the valedictorian and class president, who went on to credit the class of 2019’s experiences over the past four years with showing him and his peers “what it means to be a community.”

In alluding to the class of 2019’s motto, “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow, will be our doubts of today,” Jonathan Pfleger preached a similar sentiment to that of classmate and fellow valedictorian, Justin Robles. In reference to his peers, Pfleger insisted that “as long as we keep our heads held high, remain focused, and keep our work ethic in tact, we will accomplish great feats.”

After a brief performance from Weed High School’s choir, conducted by instructor Greg Eastman and featuring a solo from senior choir student Sonia Ferguson, ASB President Mya King took to the podium to introduce guest speaker, Kelsea Ochs.

Ochs, who grew up in Port Angeles, Wash., before obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences from Washington State University, has had quite the impact on Weed High School since moving to the town nine years ago.

Ochs opened her speech by asking the community members who had helped the class of 2019 on their path to success to stand, and with the majority of the audience on their feet, Ochs proceeded to address the graduates. She began by stating that “even though you may think you have done this on your own, in reality you’ve needed, wanted, and succeeded with the help of all these people standing.” “Class of 2019, these people who have supported you will continue to, but as you walk across this stage you will now have an adult responsibility to fulfill and define your own idea of success,” Ochs continued.

The influential Ochs went on to advise the students before her to “not let your failures, your struggles, people’s judgements, money, drugs, or alcohol get in your way.” The guest speaker then referenced her own idea of success, and its progression over time, by talking about her time serving the PeaceCorps in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, stating that a successful day was when she “had enough clean water to drink, do laundry, and shower, while finishing the day up with a meal and tea with the people who I called family.”

Overall, the message of Ochs’ speech, was simple; everyone has a different perception of success depending on where they are living and at what stage of life they are in, and that is precisely what made the Weed High School class of 2019 unique.

After addressing individual students with their own ideas of success as well as messages from their parents about what the future holds for Weed High School’s 99th graduating class, Ochs concluded her speech by stating that “The one thing for sure is that the community of Weed wants every one of you to succeed in your own way. No matter if you stay in Weed, take your skill away, or bring your education back, this will always be your home, your roots, and what has defined you.”

After Ochs moving speech, Superintendent and Weed High School Principal, Mike Matheson, took to the stage one last time to address the class of 2019. Diplomas were awarded by board members Darin Quigley and Dr. Sunny Greene, before the gym erupted in the singing of the school’s hymn.

Finally, the new graduates exited the Weed High School gym to the tune of Michael Franti’s “Say Hey, I Love You!” taking the final steps towards their future.