The executive director of a food and agriculture initiative will be the commencement speaker at Western Washington University’s summer graduation ceremony Saturday, Aug. 18.
About 450 undergraduates and 75 master’s candidates will receive degrees this quarter.
Deborah Atwood, head of AGree: Transforming Food and Agriculture Policy, also is an alumna of Huxley College of the Environment and Western’s Campus School.
Heidi Grant Murphy, a Western alumna and renowned opera singer, will receive an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts and sing the national anthem at Western’s summer commencement, which begins at 10 a.m. in Carver Gym.
Graduating senior Amanjeet Sahota, a political science major from Bellingham, will give the student commencement address.
No tickets are required for those attending commencement. Seating will be first come, first served.
People also may watch a live feed of the televised ceremony in lecture halls in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education (SMATE) building. The halls are on the bottom floor, near the main entrance.
The ceremony also will be streamed live at www.ustream.tv/channel/wwu-live-events1.
Lynden Christian, Lummi and Windward kicked off graduations in Whatcom County with their ceremonies on Thursday, June 7.
Lynden and Nooksack Valley high schools are up next, with their graduations beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, June 8.
Below is a round-up of high school and college graduation ceremonies this month. Ceremonies are open to the public, unless otherwise noted.
FRIDAY, JUNE 8
Lynden High School: 7 p.m. in the school gym.
Nooksack Valley High School: 7 p.m. at Sid Lambert Field or Kay LeMaster Gym, depending on the weather.
SATURDAY, JUNE 9
Ferndale High School: 11 a.m. at Civic Field.
Western Washington University:
- 9 a.m. College of Business and Economics, College of Fine and Performing Arts, Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, and Huxley College of the Environment.
- 12:30 p.m. College of Humanities and Social Sciences (Humanities Division) and Woodring College of Education.
- 4 p.m. College of Humanities and Social Sciences (Social Sciences Division) and the College of Sciences and Technology.
All three ceremonies are in Carver Gymnasium. Tickets are required for seating in the gym, but there will be overflow seating in the Science, Mathematics and Technology Education building with the ceremonies broadcast on a screen. The ceremonies also will be broadcast live on Comcast channel 26 and streamed live on www.ustream.tv/channel/wwu-live-events1.
MONDAY, JUNE 11
Blaine High School: 6 p.m. in the school gym.
Community Transitions (Bellingham School District): 7 p.m. Bellingham Cruise Terminal, Dome Room.
TUESDAY, JUNE 12
Mount Baker High School: 6:30 p.m. at the school’s Bob Tisdale Field.
THURSDAY, JUNE 14
Meridian High School: 7 p.m. in the school gym.
Explorations Academy: 7 p.m. at Squalicum Boathouse. Space is limited so people need to contact Explorations before June 13 if they wish to attend.
FRIDAY, JUNE 15
Bellingham High School: 7 p.m. in the school gym. Tickets required.
Northwest Indian College: 4 p.m. in Wex’liem community building.
Whatcom Community College: 6:30 p.m. in the Pavilion. Tickets are required to sit in the pavilion; however there will be overflow seating in Heiner Theatre with the ceremony broadcast on a screen.
SATURDAY, JUNE 16
Squalicum High School: 11 a.m. at the school. Tickets required.
MONDAY, JUNE 18
Sehome High School: 6 p.m. in Carver Gym at WWU.
TUESDAY, JUNE 19
Options High School: 7 p.m. in the theater at Bellingham High School.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20
Bellingham Technical College: 7 p.m. at Mount Baker Theatre. Tickets required.
The Washington State Board of Education may decide this week to require high school students to take more English and social studies classes in order to graduate.
The board is considering changing state graduation requirements during their two-day meeting this week.
The proposed rules would maintain the 20-credit requirement for graduation, but with the following changes:
- 4 English credits (instead of 3)
- 3 credits of social studies, with .5 credit specifically for civics (instead of 2.5)
- Elective credits drop from 5.5 to 4
- 2 credits of health and fitness are still needed, but the rules clarify that .5 credit is for health and 1.5 credits is for fitness.
- Completing Washington State history becomes a non-credit requirement
- Allow students who take a Career and Technical Education class to double-count the credit (for example, if a student takes a CTE graphic design art course, it can count for both CTE and fine arts).
- Remove the requirement of schools providing 150-credit hours.
If the rules are adopted, they would go into effect for the class of 2016.
I received an email yesterday from the parent of a Whatcom/Fairhaven middle school 8th grader commending the students at staff at Fairhaven for their 8th grade graduation ceremony on Wednesday, June 15.
The students are the combined 8th grades from Whatcom and Fairhaven middle schools — Whatcom students relocated to Fairhaven following the Nov. 5, 2009 fire that destroy the school. In all 365 students graduated from 8th grade, the largest group that will likely ever leave from either middle school.
Parent Dana Carpenter offered the following thoughts about the ceremony.
“The combination of the two schools made for the largest 8th grade class, and the principal remarked that this is the only class in Bellingham’s history that will have students attending all three high schools. This group of students has endured tumultous circumstances at a very difficult age and have done so with amazing grace. We are so proud of these kids. ”
Carpenter said the ceremony included speeches by the Fairhaven’s principal Michelle Kuss-Cybula, Sehome’s principal Phyllis Textor, and students, musical performances by students. But in her opinion “the shining moment had to be when a local artist (Mary Davis) and a parent volunteer unveiled the artwork she had the whole class work on this year. It was a theme of weaving threads together to create something stronger.”
“The whole staff had a tremendous task in co-mingling the two groups and all the teachers who spoke about their respective homeroom classes commented on how great the kiddos did and the lasting friendships they formed.”
For those interested in knowing how the rebuilding of Whatcom is going, check the paper this weekend for an update.
Former Bellingham Herald opinion editor Scott Ayers attended the Bellingham High School graduation on Friday, June 10 and recorded leaving principal Steve Clarke’s final graduation speech.
The video is available on You Tube here.
Or you can click on the video below.
During graduation season, I ask all valedictorians to name their most influential teachers. Some students just send names, and some write lengthy explanations about how that specific teacher inspired them.
Unfortunately, there’s never enough room to publish the lengthy responses, so I thought I’d do a post with those full responses. Not all valedictorians are included in this post, just the ones who gave personal comments about their teachers. To see all the valedictorians, and their biography information, click here.
The Bellingham Herald’s 2011 Whatcom County graduation website is now live.
Click here to see photos of high school graduation ceremonies, a gallery of valedictorians, and profiles of a few graduating seniors.
On Sunday, June 12, there will be a special 2011 graduation publication in the print edition of The Bellingham Herald.
Update: Blaine High School’s graduation is Monday, June 13. It’s corrected in the post below.
It’s June, which means thousands of teens and adults across Whatcom County will be earning high school and college degrees.
Below is a round-up of high school and college graduation ceremonies this month. Ceremonies are open to the public, unless otherwise noted.
There will be a special high school graduation section in the Sunday, June 12 print edition of The Bellingham Herald. Included in the section will be graduate lists, valedictorian bios and ceremony information for keepsake purposes.
Bellingham High School: Friday, June 10, 7 p.m. in the high school gym. Tickets are required.
Blaine High School: Monday, June 13, 6 p.m. in the high school gym.
Clearview High School: Senior Recognition Night, June 17, 6 p.m., North Bellingham campus. Graduates will also participate in the Ferndale High School ceremony.
Community Transitions (Bellingham School District): Wednesday, June 15, 7 p.m., Bellingham School District board room.
Explorations Academy: Thursday, June 9, 6:30 p.m. at the Squalicum Boat House.
Ferndale High School: Saturday, June 18, 11 a.m. at Ferndale High Memorial Field. Graduates from Clearview and Windward high schools will also participate in the ceremony.
Lummi High School: Thursday, June 16, 6 p.m. at the school. A dinner will start at 5 p.m.
Lynden High School: Friday, June 10, 7 p.m. at the school.
Lynden Christian High School: Thursday, June 9, 7 p.m. in the high school football stadium.
Meridian High School: Tuesday, June 14, 7 p.m. the high school gym.
Mount Baker High School: Wednesday, June 8, 6:30 p.m. at Bob Tisdale Field. Tickets are required.
Nooksack Valley High School: Friday, June 10, 7 p.m. at Sid Lambert Field or Kay LeMaster Gym, depending on the weather.
Options High School: Tuesday, June 14, 7 p.m. in Bellingham High School’s theatre.
Sehome High School: Monday, June 13, 6 p.m. at Western Washington University’s Carver Gymnasium. Doors willopen at 5 p.m.
St. Paul’s Academy: Wednesday, June 15, 6:30 p.m. in the new Upper School gym.
Squalicum High School: Saturday, June 11, 11 a.m. in the school gym. Tickets are required.
Windward High School: Senior Recognition Night, June 13, 7 p.m., North Bellingham campus. Graduates will also participate in the Ferndale High School ceremony.
Bellingham Technical College: Tuesday, June 21, 7 p.m. at the Mount Baker Theatre. Tickets are required.
Northwest Indian College: Friday, June 17, 5 p.m. at the Wex’liem Lummi Community Building.
Western Washington University: Saturday, June 11 in Carver Gymasium. 9 a.m. – College of Business and Economics, College of Fine and Performing Arts, Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies and Huxley College of the Environment. 12:30 p.m. – College of Humanities and Social Sciences (Humanities Division) and Woodring College of Education. 4 p.m. – College of Humanities and Social Sciences (Social Sciences Division) and College of Sciences and Technology. Tickets are required for seating in Carver Gymnasium, however there will be overflow seating available in the Science, Mathematics and Technology Education building with the ceremony broadcast on a screen. The ceremony will also be broadcast live on Comcast channel 26.
Whatcom Community College: Friday, June 17, 6:30 p.m. in the Pavillion. Tickets are required to sit in the Pavillion, however there will be overflow seating in Heiner Theatre with the ceremony broadcast on a screen.
Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tenn. will have President Barack Obama give the high school graduation speech this year.
The school was one of three finalists in the 2011 Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge. Washington’s Bridgeport High School was also in the running.
From the White House press release:
Today, the White House announced Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tennessee as the winner of the 2011 Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge. Vice President Joseph Biden called Principal Alisha Kiner today to tell her the school had won.
“I’m so proud of the schools that participated in this year’s commencement challenge and I want to thank all of them for their hard work and dedication,” said President Obama. “Booker T. Washington High School proves what can be accomplished when students, teachers, parents and administrators come together to support achievement in the classroom and I’m looking forward to delivering the commencement address at this extraordinary school soon.”
Booker T. Washington High School’s graduation rate went from 55% in 2007 to 81.6% in 2010. The school has taken steps such as establishing separate freshmen academies for boys and girls to help students adjust to the school culture and creating an atmosphere where teachers take personal interest in seeing students take pride in their schoolwork. Students can now take AP classes, learn about engineering through robotics competitions, and earn college credits.
Bridgeport High School, in Bridgeport, WA, is one of three finalists in the national Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge.
The decision is now up to the White House to determine which school will have President Obama speak at graduation. According to the Seattle Times, Obama will announce the decision later this week.
But something I find surprising, which is addressed in this Seattle PI blog post, is how small the school is! The graduating class is only about 35 students, with all of them accepted to college (according to stories). The school is in a mostly Latino community, with basically all of the school’s roughly 200 students qualifying for free and reduced lunch.
Gov. Chris Gregoire issued the following statement on Monday, May 2:
“Congratulations to the students and families at Bridgeport High School who are now in the final three to have President Obama speak at their commencement. These students represent the leadership, dedication and talent that define so many in our schools. They have risen above all odds to make education a priority. These students are quite simply an inspiration to us all. Like many across our state, I am eagerly awaiting the President’s decision later this week.”
To be part of the competition, schools had to apply through demonstrating how they best prepare students for college and life after high school. Applications included essays and statistical information about the school.
Bridgeport High made it to the final round based on public input — people were given the opportunity to rate the schools that were vying for Obama’s graduation speech.
The other finalists are High Tech High International in San Diego and Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tenn.