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Graduations 2004: Klahowya

What are Klahowya grads doing after graduation?

They’re going to Disneyland.

Well actually, the 164 graduates are going out into the “adult world” of work, college or technical school.

Which in many ways is similar to the amusement park said English teacher Chris Seidel. Seidel was selected by the class of 2004 to speak at Thursday’s commencement at the Pavilion.

His childhood visit to Disneyland was much like the graduates venturing into world — it was filled with anticipation, disappointment and joy.

The Magic Kingdom’s castle was just a facade, the pirates were robots and they didn’t get to eat crackers and cheese with Donald Duck.

“Despite our disappointment we didn’t let it spoil our fun,” Seidel said. He urged students turned graduates to have “California-sized” dreams.

Students also heard from their valedictorian Dustin Hawkins and salutatorian Jessica Manuel.

Manuel, who will attend Pacific Lutheran University on a full Army ROTC scholarship, issued pieces of advice to her fellow classmates.

“Heros are those who make the right choices big or small,” she said. “Look to the past and draw on it, don’t dwell on it.”

Manuel hopes to double major in nursing and counseling with a double minor in business and deaf communications.

Hawkins asked students to remember the people and the relationships built at Klahowya. The majority of the graduating class, 103 students, entered Klahowya as seventh graders.

“We have some of the best teachers in the district,” he said. They have taught us so much about life.

Hawkins plans to attend the University of Washington in the fall for a degree in mechanical engineering.

One of the most important lessons he learned was to say why he did or said something. He credited teacher Danyell Laughlin for asking the key question.

“Always have a reason for what you say and what you do,” Hawkins said.

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