Rain doesn’t dampen spirits of North Kitsap graduates

Packed-house fills North Kitsap Stadium

A torrential downpour of rain Friday evening couldn’t dampen the spirits of North Kitsap High School’s Class of 2022 as 238 graduates received their diplomas and set foot toward their own respective journeys.

A packed house filled North Kitsap Stadium, which wasn’t possible the last few years due to COVID-19 restrictions. The ceremony was just over an hour and consisted of a welcome song from local tribal members, music by the high school band/choir, speeches from principal Megan Sawicki and valedictorians/salutatorians, diploma roll call and the turning of the tassels.

“More than ever, the future truly is unknown,” Sawicki said. “The world, and weather, are changing as quickly as we imagine. Who knows what the next ten years will bring. All I know Class of 2022 is that I feel confident that you are prepared to face this unknown future and pave a new path for all of us. You’ll create your own path forward, and I know you’ll do so splendidly.”

The principal shared some life tips. “If you can, travel,” she said. “Explore the world around you, and learn how people in other places live. See how beautiful our world is. Try not to take life too seriously. The responsibilities of adulting can get overwhelming sometimes. Remember to laugh. There’s no school for living life. Life doesn’t come with a manual. It barely even comes with a rulebook. You’ll just have to make it up like the rest of us. I wish you all the best that life has to offer.”

Next to speak were the valedictorians and salutatorians, starting with one of the school’s baseball standouts, Dalton Brockett, whose motto was “go win your today.”

“Winning your day may look different from someone else winning their’s but both victories are equally important,” he said. “The value of your success can be determined by no one but yourself. If you’re putting your all into something it doesn’t matter how little the accomplishment is because no feat is too small.”

Valedictorian Jason Hart reflected on some of the tough situations the Class of 2022 has faced in recent years.

“The Spanish program imploded, Game of Thrones ended, social unrest rocked the world and life as we knew it came to an abrupt stop,” he said. “You can’t make your experiences go away so you may as well keep moving forward and use them.”

Salutatorian Kaiya Ochs reminded her class that they all have had different paths to graduation.

“We have all made different choices for where we are today,” she said. “Despite what some of you may have been through, you’re sitting here graduating. I’m leaving for college across the country, and I have absolutely no idea how that’s going to go. So when you go on and are faced with a decision or challenge, just know you are never stuck and absolutely nothing’s permanent.”

Valedictorian Laine Miller gives his speech at graduation.
Graduates celebrate after the ceremony.
A packed-house filled North Kitsap Stadium for the graduation.
Two graduates celebrate after receiving their diplomas.
North Kitsap High School's choir performed at the graduationled by longtime choir director Sylvia Cauter, who is retiring.
Graduates look on as they wait to receive their diplomas.
A graduate smiles toward the crowd after receiving his diploma.
When the graduates first came out onto the field it wasn't raining.
Band members persevered through the rain to perform at graduation.