Marcus Larson/News-Register##Dayton High School graduates toss their caps in the air at the end of the graduation ceremony.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##Dayton High School graduates toss their caps in the air at the end of the graduation ceremony.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##Ruben Cruz acknowledges his family in the crowd as he walks up to receive his diploma.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##Ruben Cruz acknowledges his family in the crowd as he walks up to receive his diploma.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##Ceidric Stahl and Tyler Clark lock arms and skip to their seats during the graduation procession.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##Ceidric Stahl and Tyler Clark lock arms and skip to their seats during the graduation procession.
By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Dayton High School graduates 58

“He’s Jake Colton Brown!” said Delaney, 3 1/2. “He’s gonna graduate!”

A little later Saturday afternoon, Brown and 57 of his classmates received diplomas during the DHS commencement ceremonies. “Go, Jake!” said Delaney, who also rooted for him in his high school wrestling career.

Brown, son of Aaron and Kara Ecker, was a standout wrestler at Dayton. Next year, he will attend — and wrestle for — Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay. His family, including a 16-month-old brother and other relatives, will celebrate his graduation with a party Friday.

On Saturday, hundreds of family members and friends filled Dayton’s stadium to celebrate the Class of 2015. Recorded music played before the ceremony: “I’m a Believer,” “Stand by Me,” “American Pie.”

Barb Jacks arrived early to get a good seat. She was there to see her granddaughter, Stephanie Jacks, receive her diploma.

She’s a fourth-generation Pirate, her grandmother said. Her great-grandparents, grandparents Barb and Forrest, and father Steve Jacks all are DHS grads. Now Stephanie is, too.

“She’s a wonderful young girl. Very busy,” Barb Jacks said.

Softball, cadet teaching and peer teaching kept her granddaughter busy at Dayton High. During vacations, she traveled to Mexico twice to help build houses.

Stephanie Jacks won one of the Dayton Education Association scholarships, along with Ruben Cruz and Jaici Huber. She also is a Chemeketa Scholar, so she plans to spend two years at Chemeketa Community College before moving on to Western Oregon State University to study education.

Her award was one of many received by the Class of 2015. And at graduation, several more honors were announced:

Maddie Shirley and Darren Ashley were named athletes of the year. Students of the year were Mitchell White and Joanna Kubes, who also was one of three salutatorians.

Kubes, Beth Nygren and Alexamanda Reyes spoke, as did valedictorians Shelby Byerly, Kalkidan Crapper and Maddie Shirley. All spoke to their classmates about following their dreams and remembering their roots in Dayton.

Teacher Sherri Sinicki, whose son Jake graduated from Newberg High Friday night, delivered Dayton High’s commencement address. She advised students to say yes to opportunities, keep learning, assume the best of people and “know your way home ... to the family and community that knows you and cares.”

Although they weren’t part of the Class of 2015, Cal and Debbie Kearns were named this year’s Education Citizens of the Year for their community service and support of schools.

He was called a “consummate servant” who has helped the district for more than 30 years. He’s been a coach and a member of the booster club; he helped build the last grass football field, then supervised installation of a turf field.

She taught at Dayton High and helped students with their career plans until retiring in 2014. She’s now a member of the school board. She is a founding member of the Dayton Education Foundation.

Many of the graduates who wore medals, cords and banners representing honors and activities -- yellow sashes for FFA, blue stoles for Future Business Leaders of America, etc.

The first graduate to enter the stadium, Savannah Zimmerman, carried a bouquet of flowers. She placed them on one of the chairs in the graduate seating area, reserving a place for the late Kalie Mosgrove.

Kalie was killed in a car wreck in November 2009, when the Class of 2015 was in seventh grade.

Several speakers alluded to Kalie. “Life is short and unpredictable,” Kubes said. “Seize every moment and opportunity.”

Following Zimmerman, other graduates walked two by two, each pair crossing from one end of the grandstand to the center, then descending the steps. Some strolled arm-in-arm; some struck a pose at the top of the stairs; some skipped across the track to their seats on the field.

Some, such as Shayne Smith, raised their hands in a victory sign as they reached the center of the stadium.

“I’m very excited to finally be done with school forever,” said Smith, who decorated her actual mortarboard with tiny mortarboards in silver and black.

She has some positive memories of DHS, she said, such as the recent prom. But she’s happy see the end of classes and homework.

Her next step: finding a summer job.

Dayton High’s Class of 2015 includes:

Jacob Daniel Aguiar, Mark Anthony Alvarez, Darren Micheal Ashley, Zachary Keenan Belinsky, Chance DeLayne Bowlin, Jake Colton Brown, McKenzie Nichole Bunn, Shelby Nicole Byerly, Felicia Ann-Marie Cisneros,

Tyler Wayne Clark, Kalkidan Crapper, Cassandra Jayne Crosman, Ruben Saul Cruz, Cody Levi Daggett, Isabell Christine Davison, Katie Rose Druery, D’Meekio Lynn-Lee Duncan, Darryl Leonard Flowers, Anna Elise Forness,

Khayman James Heard, Kolby Ukiah Highley, Cassi Rae Hill, Jaici Clare Huber, August Ray Hutchings, Stephanie Renee Jacks, Nancy Juarez Ceja, Jewelann Marie Kingsbury, Joanna Jordan Kubes,

Joshua Isaac Leonor, Anthony Cordell Lowell, Elizabeth Claire Meaders, Sydney Kay Miller, Haylee Ann Moore, Michelle Ann Nelson-Reed, Beth Ann Nygren, Savanah Kathryn Oliveira, Julian Javier Peter,

Kyle Leroy Poland, Camille Minnie-May Price, Alondra Natali Ramirez, Elizabeth Marie Ramirez, Sierra McKenzie Ray, Alexamanda Reyes, Cooper Jae Ringnalda, Brittany Anne Roger, Madeline Rae Shirley, Shayne Noelle Smith,

Ceidric Russell Stahl, Jesse Eugene Clay Stewart, Jared Andrew Tompkins, Sydney Angelene Van Noy, Nathalie Anais Verhoeven, Braxton William Wheeler, Mitchell Ray White, Chase Evan Young, Savannah May Zimmerman.

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