By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Amity graduates will travel varied paths

Marcus Larson / News-RegisterAmity graduates congratulate each other on completing high school.
Marcus Larson / News-Register
Amity graduates congratulate each other on completing high school.

Traditionally, as each senior receives a diploma, their post-high school plans are detailed for fellow classmates and everyone attending graduation.

On the academic front, Chemeketa Community College is the college of choice for the seniors, with about two dozen announcing that’s where they will enroll in the fall. Jenna Drader, Kyle Hayes, Courtney McKee, Kendra Rohde, Ruth Stoller, Tori Tavolazzi and Holly Worthington were honored as Chemeketa Scholars, each receiving a two-year tuition scholarship.

Linfield, Oregon State, Oregon, Eastern Oregon, Southern Oregon, Western Oregon, a Swiss college, a trade school and Brigham Young/Idaho were other places students said they will attend. Others said they planned to enlist in a branch of the military.

From the sound of things, some of the seniors have slightly different future plans.

The goal of one is to be a superhero, own hairless cats and launch a llama ranch. Another wants to travel the world and set up a wood shop in an apartment in the second-largest Italian city of Milan.

Being a professional stand-up comedian is the goal of a senior while another said she “wants to raise 10 cats and rocket as a soccer mom.”  One is intent on launching a beverage company and producing B.J.’s Brew.

Getting married, becoming rich and owning a nice home were on the minds of some. One wants a new Jeep to go with that nice home.

Kathryn Wilson, the salutatorian, said she and her classmates looked up to the seniors when they were ninth graders. She said the spirit of the senior class was amazing, and they all thought it “would be cool” to replicate the makeup of that class when they became seniors.

“I’ve kept that feeling with me, but we have had an impact here,” said Wilson, who admitted she should have been more inspired by her freshman classmates than maybe she was at the time. She said her class made a difference during their four years at Amity High.

Wilson added, “We’ve had good memories and we’ve had bad memories. But thank you, graduates, for the best four years of my life.

She plans to double-major in history and math at Western Oregon.

Valedictorian Courtney Schoenborn praised the seniors for being a “pretty impressive” class. She said it was a close class, with a blend of unique personalities.

She will head off to Eastern Oregon to pursue film making.

Physical education teacher and Athletic Director Ryan Eckman was the staff speaker. This is his last year at Amity, as he is leaving the profession to join the family construction business in Central Oregon.

Eckman was introduced as someone who has worn many hats, and the list was too long to recite. His main focus was always the success of Amity’s students, and he was labeled the ideal educator.

He praised the senior class for the competitive spirit it demonstrated through academics, where they showed commitment and poise in the classroom, athletics, band, drama and even robotics. There were many high moments.

Before he concluding his address to the seniors, he rapped awhile for them, Will Smith-style, as he promised he would.

Now this is the story all about how My life got flipped, turned upside down,” the theme song to the NBC show Fresh Prince of Bel-air goes. “And I’d like to take a minute just sit right there I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-air.”

What Eckman did is use Amity, not Bel-air, as the focal point of his message, and he even got in a dig or two at rival Dayton as part of the lyrics.

Principal Chris Daniels and the senior class both arrived at Amity High four years ago. He told them the success they achieve and enjoy is certain to be based more on their attitude than the skill they display.

“You’ve been given the skills to step into the next chapter of the book you will write,” McKee said. “You will be the writer and the editor.

“Make decisions wisely,” she said. “Lead by example, dream big and live those dreams.”

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