Tigard High braves rain for commencement
Nothing could be more "Oregon" than this: At Tigard High School's Friday night graduation ceremony, before the student processional, before the band set up, before the superintendent and board members and administrators arrived, a team of students sprinted out to the center of Douglass Memorial Field to wipe rain water off the seats.
The first truly rainy day in weeks arrived just in time to celebrate the Tiger's Class of 2018. The standing-room-only seating was nothing but smiles — albeit under umbrellas, ponchos and droopy hats — as the graduation candidates took the field.
"Am I surprised it's raining? No," said graduate Daniel Howell, who's off to Portland Community College this fall. "Am I bummed? Hey, I'm wearing a suit."
The students gathered in the gym before the ceremony to make sure their mortarboards, tassels and honor cords were in order. "I'm going to miss this," senior Suzie Duncan-Winn said a little wistfully as she looked around at the gleeful crowd. "These are all my friends."
Senior Felix Cardenas-Limon has a three-part plan for life following graduation: The school's all-night party, then getting a summer job, then PCC.
Lucas Chavez seconded that. "I'm gonna get a summer job, gonna make some more money."
Others are thinking a bit farther afield. Lauren Paven is heading to the University of Idaho in Moscow to run track and to major in exercise- and health-related fields.
Cole Green is going to Western Oregon University to study law enforcement. He has a long history of military service in his family and his father is a firefighter. "I want to serve."
But not right away. "First, I'm pretty sure I'm going to Walgreens. To get ice cream."
The gym was a flurry of hugs and selfies as the students got ready. Faculty member Chris Thompson teaches social studies and also organizes mentorship programs. He practically got tackled by students wanting to hug him.
"This is awesome," Thompson said. "A lot of these kids, in ninth grade, didn't think the'd be here now. Yet, here they are."
After protecting the school for a full year, Tigard Police Officers Kristan Rinell and Brian Imus—two of the school district School Resource Officers — stood in the midst of the whirlwind of energy and grinned. They wouldn't be anywhere else.
"You get attached," Imus said. "These kids have been a big part of your life for the past couple of years. This is neat"