ENUMCLAW, Washington (STPNS) -- Mother Nature offered up a chilly wind and horrendous traffic had things running late, but nothing could dampen the spirits of the Enumclaw High School graduating class of 2008.

Friends and family poured into the White River Amphitheatre Monday night for the formal send-off of 340 Hornets.

The annual rite of passage included the traditional remembrances by student leaders, appreciation for the sacrifices made by parents, good wishes for the future and emphasis upon all the accomplishments made during the past four years.



Senior class presidents Travis Coutts and Jillian Parker kicked things off with a quick Top 5 list of things EHS will miss about their class. Included were ?bouncy fun? at assemblies and no more need for ?streaker patrol? at sporting events. But what tops the list, Parker said, is ?nothing rhymes better than ?oh-eight dominate.??

The first of two class speakers, Amanda Hilberg, recapped the past four years, beginning with the winter day when the then-freshman were tops in a spirit assembly. On this chilly Monday night, however, she noted that ?we have bigger things on our minds than assemblies.?

She gave a fond nod to her hometown, pointing out that ?every graduate will take a piece of Enumclaw with them, whether they want to or not.? It?s a community, she said, colored by ?not being able to drive more than a mile without seeing a cow? ? a town where ?everyone knows who drives which truck.?

In the end, she expressed a hope that classmates will venture into their new worlds just as they rallied for that long-ago pep assembly: ?with spirit, excitement, confidence and passion.?

Dion French followed with her summary that ?this has been the year to be a Hornet.?

Students have made their mark in various ways, she said, concluding that ?we?ve all made an impact on someone?s life and altered it forever.?

Principal David Dorn, participating in his final EHS graduation ceremony, pointed to the class of 2008?s scholastic ability. He told the crowd this year?s grads have secured scholarships totaling $406,000 for the coming school year and nearly $1 million over the course of the next four years.

?You have accomplished many great things,? Dorn told the class.

Superintendent Mike Nelson reminded the about-to-graduate seniors that ?you are more prepared than any class that has gone before you.? When he graduated from EHS in 1981, Nelson said, there were no senior projects to contend with, no Washington Assessment of Student Learning to fret over, no Running Start programs and no Advanced Placement classes.

School Board President Cathy Dahlquist let the graduates in on a secret: life isn?t full of winners; there are some losers among the ranks. But failure can be temporary, she said, pointing to examples like Muhammad Ali, Albert Einstein and Walt Disney; all were failures at one point, but had the courage to overcome obstacles on their way to the top.

?Failure will lead you to success,? she said. ?Only the fear of failure can hold you down.?