By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Dayton High graduates Class of 2014

Marcus Larson/News-Register
At the conclusion of Saturday s commencement ceremony, Dayton graduates let their mortarboards fly in celebration. Many personalized their caps with sayings, decorations or college names.
Marcus Larson/News-Register
At the conclusion of Saturday's commencement ceremony, Dayton graduates let their mortarboards fly in celebration. Many personalized their caps with sayings, decorations or college names.

Keep following the rules you’ve been learning throughout their years in Dayton schools, said Kearns, who is retiring after many years as school-to-work coordinator at Dayton High. “Do your best. Do what’s right. Always treat others the way you want to be treated.”

Kearns applauded the graduates’ “hard work and perseverance.” Now, she said, they need to decide what type of people they will be.

“I could tell you to finish strong ... to stay strong and never give up ... to respect yourselves, be independent ... to work hard on the concept of marriage and family ... to find the balance and laugh every day,” Kearns said. Instead, she said, she wanted to stress her message of financial advice.

“Avoid credit cards,” she said. “Be financially smart. Don’t spend what you don’t have. Save a dollar instead of spending a dollar.”

In addition, she advised, “Choose a career you love. Live without regrets.”

The crowd stood in unison to applaud the graduates, who entered the stadium two-by-two. Boys wore black, girls red. Many personalized their caps with flowers, shiny beads, names of colleges or other messages.

“This little bird is about to fly,” one cap read. “To the moon and back,” or “Just did it,” said others.

“I am the captain of my soul,” read Jennifer Moranchel’s cap.

Moranchel joined three other valedictorians — Heidi Benham, Kathryn Harris and Katya Urraco — at the speaker’s podium.

Urraco and Regan White were named girls of the year. Jakob Janssen, the class salutatorian, was named boy of the year.

As the graduation continued, Wendy Wallace proudly watched her daughter, Suzanna, receive her diploma. “She’s a very sweet girl, very loving, very smart, very musical,” Mom said.

Suzanna, who earned an honors diploma and won several scholarships, wants to become a physician or surgeon. She will start school in the Chemeketa Scholars program this fall.

Seeing her youngest daughter graduate was both a happy and sad occasion, Wallace said. “But Suzanna’s going to live at home next year, so it’s not so bad,” she said.

Susan and Francis Hiatt of Cornelius applauded as their grandson, Corwin Hiatt, and his friend, Aaron Campbell, marched into the stadium and skipped across the track to join their classmates.

They’re used to applauding for him — they’ve been attending his football and basketball games for years.

“We practically live here in the fall and winter,” said his grandfather. And that will continue, as Corwin’s younger brother, Bear, is now playing football.

Corwin is a “wonderful boy, who’s kind and sweet and has wonderful goals,” his grandmother said. He plans to join the Army after graduation, and probably will pursue a profession related to medicine, such as becoming a military medic, she said.

Among those honored Saturday was the Dayton Education Association’s Citizen of the Year, Carla Harmon.

She has been an outstanding volunteer for 17 years, Superintendent Janelle Beers. “She has made Dayton schools better for her efforts,” the superintendent said.

Harmon also was congratulated by her daughter, Kristi, a member of the graduating class.

Members of the Class of 1964 were honored in the bargain. “It’s great being back,” said Peg Stoutenburg Morris, who shared front-row seats with four classmates.

Morris said she attended her sister and brother’s graduations after her own, but hadn’t been to a commencement ceremony for ages. This was the first one she’d attended in the DHS stadium, she said.

But many aspects of graduation were the same. She and her 1964 classmates nodded when the 2014 senior class president Nicole Hehr told the crowd: “We will always have ties to this wonderful and supportive community.”

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