Teacher Branden Hansen reminded Roseburg High School’s graduating seniors to be kind to the people closest to them as they move onto the next stage of life.
“Sometimes the people we love the most are the people we are the least kind to,” he said.
He asked students to remember to thank the people who made them who they are today.
Hansen spoke to 365 members of the class of 2014 gathered on Finlay Field at the school Sunday afternoon to celebrate graduation. They were surrounded by thousands of relatives and well-wishers as they performed their final act as high school students. The graduates chose Hansen, RHS band and music teacher, to be their keynote speaker.
Hansen also reminded graduates not to always try to be cool, but instead chase dreams that may be unpopular.
“If you are so preoccupied with what others think, you’ll never get the impossible done,” he said.
After Hansen’s speech, Roseburg School District Superintendent Larry Parsons presented the class of 2014, and school board members helped hand out diplomas.
The students also heard from two of the class’ 2014 valedictorians and one of four salutatorians.
Co-valedictorian Raluca Gosman spoke of the future for the graduating class.
“It’s a momentous turning point to an era waiting to be discovered,” she said.
The class is diverse, yet united by their common school experience, she said.
“We are all connected by this great foundation,” she said
Co-salutatorian Caelan “CJ” Ball spoke of the challenges students encountered at the school.
“The obstacles we have faced to get here are what makes us stand out,” he said.
Co-valedictorian Chelsey Luiz thanked teachers, coaches, club leaders and principals for guiding the class to graduation.
Principal Karen Goirigolzarri said this grade was dedicated, competitive and exceptionally involved with class activities.
Goirigolzarri said she has enjoyed working with the students over the years.
“They all have their own stories, and they’re all amazing,” she said.
Some graduates said after the ceremony they were excited to move on but would miss high school.
Rowan Rickman, 17, graduated early in January and said there was a lot of anticipation before the ceremony.
“It put in perspective how far we’ve come from walking in the doors freshman year to walking out,” she said.
Rickman plans to enter the Marines this fall.
Fellow senior Ashley Netz, 18, said it felt great to graduate.
“Our hard work has finally paid off,” she said. “We’re just starting a new chapter of our lives and going off to college is exciting.”
Netz plans to study elementary education at Western Oregon University this fall.
Graduating was bittersweet for Cailey Frasier, 18.
“I have so many great memories and great friends,” she said.
Frasier said she will always remember being part of the leadership class and will miss “being at the heart” of the school.
She plans to study animal science at Oregon State University and hopes to become a veterinarian.
Graduate Ty Siepert, 18, felt relieved to not have homework for a while.
“I’m sad to leave friends but excited to move on,” he said. “I’ll miss all the random fun you can find.”
Siepert will take summer classes at Brigham Young University then go on a Mormon mission before going to BYU-Hawaii.
Just prior to dismissal, Goirgigolzarri wished the class good luck for the future.
“In everything you do, you’ve brought joy to us here at Roseburg High School,” she said. “Remember what you’ve learned. Go out and make the difference that we know you can do.”
• Reporter Betsy Swanback can be reached at 541-957-4208 or firstname.lastname@example.org.