By Nancy Gutierrez
In his salutatorian speech Brent Pascoe encouraged his classmates to see beyond high school. Quoting comedian George Carlin he said, "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away. Be alive while you are alive."
Many of the students at Exeter Union High School Graduation ceremony last Thursday night held their breath in anticipation of their last experience as high school students. Two things stood out at the graduation ceremony. The first was the new all-weather track that circled the football field. Second was the American flag flying at half mast above the stadium. As senior class president, Savannah Edwards welcomed the relatives and friends in attendance she asked the crowd to observe a moment of silence for classmate Jason Souza who died in 2003, and fallen soldier Daniel Unger who was killed in Iraq on May 24.
Following Edwards, valedictorian Stacy Marks addressed her classmates and the crowd, focusing on overcoming the obstacles that come with life.
"In order to succeed we have to overcome obstacles. In kindergarten it was making it through the day without our parents and in junior high it was fitting in," Marks said. "As we leave some of of will serve our country, some will head to college and others to jobs. No matter what we do we will have to face the storm to reach the rainbow of success."
Pascoe spoke next and used his time to spotlight the many achievements the school has had over the year. From award winning band and choir performances to the cultivation of new leaders in FFA. He also noted the sports teams who conquered league titles this year. But he added that it would be the little details of high school that the graduates would miss.
"Going to a rally or getting ready for the formal, these are the things we will miss," he said. "But life is not over after high school. As George Carlin said, the tears happen, endure, grieve and move on."
As the class of 2004 moves on they will leave behind a gift for EUHS. The school alma mater and fight song will be painted on the West wall of the smith gym over the summer.
Before presenting students with their diploma Principal Don Brinkman acknowledge the California Scholastic Federation lifetime members and announced the winners of three prestigious awards. The Lions Club Athlete of the Year went to Student Body President Jessica Morris. The Walter Smith Scholarship was presented to valedictorian Stacy Marks. The recipient of the Holladay Scholarship was Salutatorian Brent Pascoe who summed up the evening at the close of his speech.
"Tonight there is nothing more important than our diploma. But tomorrow is a new day. Figure out a plan to achieve your goals."