Valedictorian Keely Malloy spoke about leadership at the Class of 2019 graduation. photo by Jerry Baldock
Valedictorian Keely Malloy spoke about leadership at the Class of 2019 graduation. photo by Jerry Baldock
A rocking rendition of Queen’s “We are the Champions” by members of the Sisters graduating class of 2019 highlighted the commencement ceremony for Sisters High School on Friday, June 14, in the gymnasium packed with faculty, family, and friends.

Prior to the rocking performance led by graduating senior Tyrell Beatty, Principal Joe Hosang briefly welcomed everyone before turning the attention to the jazz choir, directed by Rick Johnson, in a moving national anthem.

All of the speeches for this year’s ceremony came from students. Associated Student Body President Wyatt Hernandez started things off and spoke from the heart about how supported he felt by his classmates after suffering a significantly debilitating concussion during his freshman year.

“There were many days that I did not want to get out of bed, but I made it through because of all of you,” he said. “Whether it was Kendra (Sitz) being my voice when I was too embarrassed to speak or the Cook twins (Mia and Ellie) always checking in on me or even Luka Perle helping me with English when I couldn’t even read. You guys showed me love and compassion when I needed it the most, and you taught me so much about caring and friendship.”

Hernandez will attend Willamette University in Salem.

Delia Hoyt shared the next speech as one of four valedictorians and a salutatorian who chose to string together their messages, each with an individual theme.

Hoyt, who will attend Hamilton College in Clinton, New York next year began with proposing that “everyone is an artist.” She explained, “Everyone can express themselves…whether it is woodworking or mathematics or running or even painting, everyone has their own way of expressing themselves.”

Keely Malloy spoke about being a leader: “Leadership is not about power, a title, or a position,” she said. It is about one life influencing another. A leader is someone who inspires others, and our class is filled with current and future leaders.”

Malloy plans to attend George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon.

University of Washington-bound Sophia Bianchi, a three-sport athlete herself, spoke on the notion that everyone is an athlete and an adventurer. She spoke of how determination is a key to success and the importance of teamwork to achieve goals. She described her teammates as people who are willing to explore new territory and being open to new experiences.

She said, “After today we will be embarking on a new adventure. Embracing and learning from what lies ahead is what makes one an adventurer. Our adventures have no limits.”

Brooke Robillard, the class salutatorian, opined that she and her classmates are all travelers.

“Traveling allows us to become someone who is more understanding of the world around us, and traveling is the key to our success as a people,” she said. “It is easy to isolate yourself and your ideas, especially coming from a small town. We may only see one side to a story and we begin to think it is acceptable to ignore the other sides. Traveling forces us to break out of this habit and see what else is out there.”

Robillard will attend the University of Denver.

Wrapping up the speeches, Meaghan Greaney expressed to her classmates that they are all teachers. She pointed to a number of her classmates from which she learned things.

“At Sisters High School, being helpful is just something that we do,” she said.

Going on, she encouraged her class to pursue their passions.

“We all have things we are passionate about—from farming to flying,” she said. “I encourage you all to be persistent in the pursuit of what you love. No matter the journey that life takes you, cherish the joy found in those things. If you can, spread the joy to everyone fortunate enough to meet you. I am a better person because of all the things you have taught me.”

Greaney concluded by describing what it means to be an Outlaw.

“We will always be Outlaws,” she said. “An Outlaw is determined, fearless, and compassionate. And when I look out at you that is what I see. No matter how far away life takes us from our beautiful mountain town, Sisters will always be our home and we will always be Outlaws.”

Ty Beatty then introduced himself and invited the crowd to join in as he and his group — True Duerden, Samson Henneous, Leah Chapman, Zach Guzman and Dalton Gonzales — dived into “We are the Champions.” Before long, phone flashlights were waving throughout the arena transporting the crowd into a one-song rock concert that concluded to thunderous applause from the crowd.

The ceremony turned sentimental as graduates presented flowers to loved ones and then returned to their seats to view the traditional “then and now” slideshow, produced by Mia Cook, of baby pictures juxtaposed with senior photos.

Finally, Principal Hosang affirmed that members of the class of 2019 had fulfilled the requirement for graduation and 111 young men and women proceeded across the stage, one by one, transformed from students to alumni, concluding the 71st Sisters High School Commencement.