On Wednesday evening, 251 Sumner High School seniors graduated at the White River Amphitheatre. Principal Bill Gaines welcomed an extremely lighthearted crowd, among them Valedictorian Justin Niedermeyer who graduated with a 4.0, Salutatorian Kalynda Ray less than a decimal point away from a 4.0, and a record number of graduates with full IB diplomas.
2010-11 ASB President Melissa Mitchell set the mood as the first class speaker, poking fun at her classmates, the teachers and even the audience. She advised the graduating class not to take her advice.
Niedermeyer assembled a speech out of famous quotes, replacing pieces with more appropriate vocabulary. For instance, “curiosity killed the grad.”
English teacher Chris Clayton questioned why he had been chosen as the staff speaker, listed colleagues whom he would have chosen instead and pondered the possible ulterior motives that the organizers could have had for choosing him. He also read three poems, including those he had written himself. Clayton “graduated” with the class of 2011. He will be leaving to pursue a Ph. D next year. Since he announced his intentions, many people have wished him luck on his pursuit of “bigger and better things.” However, Clayton fondly rebutted that it will be difficult to find anything better than teaching at Sumner High School. As he took his seat, the seniors gave him a standing ovation.
Finally, the purple and gold clad Spartans crossed the stage and received their diplomas.