Spectrum marks a peaceful year

POULSBO — The Spectrum Community School set records this year with its class of 2003.

POULSBO — The Spectrum Community School set records this year with its class of 2003.

The largest graduating class in the history of the North Kitsap School District’s alternative high school went the entire school year without a single act of violence — an effort that was emphasized at the school’s graduation ceremony June 6 at the North Kitsap Community Auditorium.

Before graduating 59 students, Principal Chris Wendelyn reviewed the year’s school achievements including local, state and national awards and recognitions.

Some of the accomplishments included the boys’ basketball team winning the state alternative high school championship for the second year in a row; the school’s music program receiving its second Grammy Foundation award; the approval and construction of the school-based health clinic; and a $5,000 award for the Native American Club to create a ceremonial space on the school’s campus.

“We are a small school yet we are living exciting times,” Wendelyn said.

Commencement speaker Phil Davis, who was honored earlier this year as the school district’s Teacher of the Year, spoke highly of the school’s violence-free year.

“That is not a small, common or insignificant accomplishment,” Davis said.

He also noted that the creativity and energy the students put into their work inside and outside of the classroom were signs of peace.

“Peace, is not, my 59 graduating friends, is not an absence of violence,” he said.

Every time a guitar string is touched, a piece of poetry is studied or feelings are turned into art on a canvas, that is making peace in the world, he added.

Davis acknowledged the winning basketball team and their sportsmanship-like behavior on the court, praising them for listening to themselves, their teammates and their coaches, who all “put the ball in the basket and won.”

He also recognized students who participated in the Spectrum Community School Human Rights Exchange program, in which Spectrum and Mexican students learned about society, ecology and cultural through study abroad.

He praised the students on their outpouring of generosity and interest in making new friends with those from a different culture.

“I wish the world was better at making friends,” Davis said before ending his speech with some simple advice for the students if and when they ever feel depressed or angry.

“Go jump in a lake, or in Puget Sound or in the ocean. The colder, the better and the less clothes you wear, the better!” he exclaimed as his comments were met by cheers from the graduating class as well as the audience of family and friends.

Before the school staff individually commented and praised each of the 59 students and handed them their diplomas, several graduating seniors stepped to the podium to offer their appreciation of support they received at Spectrum.

“I didn’t think I’d fit in at any of the schools, but when I first came to Spectrum, I felt accepted and they listened and that’s really important,” said graduate Ashley Justin.

“It’s been one heck of a journey at Spectrum,” said senior Casey Brown, as he praised the school’s instructors. “Everyone has their own beautiful personality and can guide you though life.”

“Although I know I am a slacker, I’m going somewhere in life, thanks to you guys,” he added.