Carrying flowers, sun umbrellas and water bottles in the over 90-degree heat on Sunday afternoon, hundreds of family members and friends gathered together to cheer on the Roseburg High School graduating class of 2016.
Bedecked with black robes and orange sashes, the graduates filled Finlay Field with enthusiasm.
“Our excitement helped us bear the heat,” graduate Crysten Wheeler said. “Today was really nerve-racking but exciting because it’s the end of something, but it’s also a new beginning.”
Fellow graduate Danny Neeley agreed, saying that graduating feels great, “but it’s really hot and I’m not sure why they forced us to wear black.”
Neeley added that he thought the opening speeches were well thought out and enjoyable, especially the message to graduates given by Joe Richards and Don Crossfield.
In their joint message, the two talked about what it means to love and be loved by the Roseburg community, and what it means to not only be “Roseburg strong,” but “Roseburg stronger” by going through tough times and healing together.
They said the graduates are not defined by tragedies or celebrations, but how they respond to those events.
Richards and Crossfield said they hope the students will go on to “feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort those in distress, stand with the defenseless and pursue these goals without desire for recognition.”
They said the Roseburg community has done its best to instill those values in the students. "On behalf of that community, Class of 2016, we commission you to go and do likewise,” the speech ended.
After receiving diplomas and hearing Principal Jill Weber’s closing remarks, the class of 2016 marched off the field and on toward their futures.
Sabrina DiRezze and Valerie Douthitt were two of the proud graduating seniors.
“We were excited to graduate and start a new chapter in our lives,” DiRezze said.
Douthitt added that she’d like to thank her teachers and family for their support.