Rockne Roll/News-Register##Marti Hofenbredl
performs the ceremonial
turning of the tassel for
Sheridan Co-Valedictorian
Jacob Hertel during
commencement exercises
at Sheridan High School
on Saturday, June 6.
Rockne Roll/News-Register##Marti Hofenbredl performs the ceremonial turning of the tassel for Sheridan Co-Valedictorian Jacob Hertel during commencement exercises at Sheridan High School on Saturday, June 6.
Rockne Roll/News-Register##Sheridan graduate
Sarah Marsh blows bubbles during Saturday’s commencement exercise
at Sheridan High School.
Rockne Roll/News-Register##Sheridan graduate Sarah Marsh blows bubbles during Saturday’s commencement exercise at Sheridan High School.
By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Sheridan valedictorian remembers cousin

He had placed half a basketball on his mortar board and noted his graduation year on the top. Hertel was a three-sport athlete for the Spartans.

One of the school’s three valedictorians, Hertel delivered an emotional speech paying tribute to his late cousin, Louie Hertel.

After tassel-turner Marti Hofenbredl and Hertel exchanged an embrace, he lifted her off the ground in celebration of the moment.

Louie Hertel, a student at Puyallup High School in neighboring Washington, died in August 2010 when his all-terrain vehicle overturned and landed on top of him about five miles north of Forest Grove.

He used a cell phone to call for help, telling the dispatcher he was “injured all over.” He was pronounced dead when medical and rescue crews reached him.

Hertel had been riding in a field when he struck some large ruts hidden by tall grass. He had been visiting family in Oregon, and had been scheduled to return home the next day.

Jacob Hertel said he misses his cousin greatly. He said the death has left a hole in his life.

Walking off the field with the Alison Fry Cup, symbolic of citizenship and character, he accepted the congratulations of many people after the ceremony concluded.

Hertel said his cousin was like a brother or best friend. He credited his cousin with inspiring him to grow up and achieve all that he did at Sheridan High.

“I knew I was going to have to give a speech, and his name just kept popping up into my mind,” Hertel said. “It was just him.”

He urged his classmates to “find the Louie in your life” as they embark on their post-graduate plans.

Hertel, ranked No. 1 academically in his class, plans to major in engineering at Oregon State University. He won scholarships from First Federal, West Valley Kiwanis and the Booster Club to help him in his endeavors.

Jaden Douglas and Alivia Hermens shared valedictorian honors with Hertel.

Douglas described the air of nervous excitement associated with the ceremony. It’s a “scary world” out there, he said. He encouraged his classmates to never forget the friends they made at Sheridan.

Hermens said everyone in the class is different from everyone else, which makes the class special as a whole. Learn from the decisions and mistakes that are made as you go forward, she urged her fellow graduates.

Nathan Butt and Jazlyn Speedling were the salutatorians.

Butt said his high school days helped him develop and grow. Speedling said only one of her parents graduated from high school, so this was a special day indeed for herself and her family.

“This is a big accomplishment,” Speedling said. “I’m so proud. We worked hard, and there are many chapters ahead for us.”

Math teacher Aaron McGinn was the staff speaker. He said he wasn’t about to impart his wisdom on any of the graduates because he was simply too young to pull it off.

He told the class that we all find happiness in being loved.

“Love everyone around you and you will find your value,” McGinn said.

Butt was named Boy of the Year and Cassadie Breeden Girl of the Year. Other award winners were:

Hermens, Callie B. Heider Cup; Jillian Nichols, Ruth Field Award; Hertel, Alison Fry Cup; Andrew Glynn, Andy Sisk Memorial; Mackenzie Hall, Heidi Pugh Memorial; Justin Acuff, Mike Ottele Scholarship; Bethany Ashlock, Russell E. McCollister Memorial.

Hall and Nichols, who have enlisted in the Navy, secured two of the largest scholarships — Post 9/11 GI Bill awards worth $80,000 each.

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