Mariner grads step fearlessly into adulthood

508 students earn high school degrees June 16
By Nicholas Johnson | Jun 20, 2017
Photo by: Nicholas Johnson Graduates toss their caps into the air after turning their tassels during graduation ceremonies June 16 at Xfinity Center in Everett.

Admittedly, Class Speaker Michael Barbee can’t dance. But he didn’t come this far “to stand around and look pretty.”

“Will you step onto the dance floor?” he asked his 507 fellow Mariner High School graduates June 16 at Xfinity Center in Everett.

Barbee said his fear of swimming nearly kept him from joining the school’s swim team in his sophomore year.

“I took the plunge,” he said, “and that year, my relay team placed first in the junior varsity state championship.”

Fear and self-doubt can keep us from living our lives, but ultimately the choice to ignore that fear is ours, Barbee said.

“Even if you think you can’t dance, never stop yourself from dancing,” he said. “Who knows? You might even have a good time.”

For many, reaching the milestone of high school graduation may be a bitter sweet accomplishment as graduates now face arguably their most significant life transition yet.

“Just weeks ago, we still had to ask for permission to use the bathroom,” Valedictorian Tamia McCall said. “Now, we are expected to go to college or work, blending into the role of an adult seamlessly.”

The good news, McCall said, is that they have learned a lot.

“Sure, most of us do not know yet how to do our taxes or how to take out loans, but we know many other essential aspects of what constitutes being a good citizen,” she said.

“Throughout our school years, we have learned thoughtfulness, compassion and kindness. We have learned how not to back down from peer pressure, how to smile even when under crippling stress and how to save homework until the last possible minute, and somehow still get it done.”

The class of 2017, she said, will inevitably continue learning and growing well into adulthood.

“Now, we can either choose to continue growing as a person or stagnate,” she said. “Class of 2017, let’s never stop learning.”

Graduate Ferrer Guevara-Cruiz performed a special song, and students in the Avant Blue musical group performed Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.”

Superintendent Marci Larsen addressed Mariner’s graduates, telling them to be optimistic about the future.

“I’m optimistic about the future,” she said. “I’m optimistic because of you.”

Larsen described Mariner as “a microcosm of the world” and said its class of 2017 has “good character.”

“You have had the unique and awesome experience of attending a school that is representative of countries from around the world, one that celebrates rich diversity, a wide variety of customs and numerous languages,” she said.

“You have much to offer. Give to the world the best that you have, and the best will come back not only to you, but to your family and the broader community.”

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.