By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Change proves a good thing at Y-C

Marcus Larson / News-Register
Graduates receive diplomas from Yamhill-Carlton High School on Sunday.
Marcus Larson / News-Register
Graduates receive diplomas from Yamhill-Carlton High School on Sunday.

Once she settled into her new academic environment, though, Beshears said she could not have felt more comfortable. Y-C proved a perfect fit.

“There is no better way to grow than to make a change,” she told her fellow graduates and the overflow crowd attending the commencement exercise. “Change is not something to fear, but to embrace. Keeping an open mind makes change bearable.”

Beshears said achieving one’s full potential might require making a change, and she encouraged the seniors to make the most of any change that may come their way as they go forward. She adapted well to a big change in her life and will never regret the challenges that it posed, she said.

Fellow valedictorian Zachary Bibb said he experienced feelings of apprehension, uncertainty and finally excitement as he contemplated the call to speak at commencement.

He encouraged everyone in the 87-member senior class to just be themselves and no one else.

“Bring your own contributions to this world,” he said. “You’ll have a chance to express yourselves.”

Bibb told each of them to go where others have never dreamed of going, and, more importantly, accomplish what others have yet to accomplish.

Salutatorian Arbor Fessler reminded everyone of the former Trask Mountain Middle School, which later became Yamhill-Carlton Intermediate School. She noted this year’s seniors made up the first and last Trask Mountain graduating class.

Fessler said she remembered many friendships still cherished today being “jump-started” at Trask Mountain.

“Many dreams lie beyond Carlton and Yamhill,” she said. “You’ll hear a lot of grumbling about growing up in a small town, but think about what our parents sacrificed to raise us here, one of the most beautiful places on earth.”

Nichole Spearman-Eskelsen, who teaches agricultural science, animal science, food science, horticulture and viticulture, and serves as the FFA advisor, served as staff speaker. She told the seniors to follow their dreams and have the courage to follow their heart and intuition.

“The biggest obstacles you’re going to face are going to be your own fear and disappointment,” she said. “Not living up to the expectations of others.

“But the person you’re going to spend the most time with is yourself. So be someone with integrity and passion.”

Spearman-Eskelsen noted that Yamhill-Carlton students, including many seniors, planted the first high school vineyard in the country this year. She said hard work, like the students have exhibited in their vineyard project, results in dedication and pride in any task that one takes on.

She thanked the seniors for all the lessons they taught her the past four years.

First-year Superintendent Charan Cline introduced himself.

“I’m new here,” he said. “I came less than a year ago. But I’ve learned this is a great place and people are proud of their school and their community.”

In congratulating the seniors, he said he would be willing to wager that at least one of the graduates “escaping these halls” would come back one day and join the Yamhill-Carlton teaching staff.

Principal Jim Orth has earned a reputation for delivering poignant graduation speeches, and it was no different Sunday. His optimism was eloquent.

“I’m guilty of seeking the best in people and situations,” he said. “Things are going to go the way I expect or sometimes even better.”

Each day, Orth said, his optimism is tested. However, he always returns to this thought: “It’s all going to work out today.”

Despite physical limitations confining him to a wheelchair, William Cody always had a joke for Orth — and anyone else for that matter. He would come to school this year, knowing everything would work out, because someone like Geneva Hobart might surprise him with a new rainbow of hair colors that made him jealous of her courage and creativity.

“If you find yourself feeling like the world is against you, and everyone else has it better, think back to your classmates who never got caught up in that stuff,” Orth said. “Think of those who showed strength when it might have been easier to make excuses for falling down.”

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