Othello HS principal cuts valedictorian speech short

Print Article

  • Charles H. Featherstone/Columbia Basin Herald - Othello High School seniors march in.

  • 1

    Charles H. Featherstone/Columbia Basin Herald - Othello High School 2018 valedictorian Andrew Chen.

  • 2

    Charles H. Featherstone/Columbia Basin Herald - Newly pronounced OHS graduates.

  • Charles H. Featherstone/Columbia Basin Herald - Othello High School seniors march in.

  • 1

    Charles H. Featherstone/Columbia Basin Herald - Othello High School 2018 valedictorian Andrew Chen.

  • 2

    Charles H. Featherstone/Columbia Basin Herald - Newly pronounced OHS graduates.

OTHELLO — A chill wind blew over Huskie Field Friday evening as the Othello High School class of 2018 received their diplomas.

It didn’t help that valedictorian Andrew Chen was forced to abandon his speech after only a minute by Othello High School Principal Alejandro Vergara.

“What does it mean to graduate?” Chen began his passionate and sometimes intense speech. “It’s supposed to prove we’re ready to take the next step.”

Chen talked about fear — about being afraid of change, about moving on, about facing the future. About taking that next step.

Defining fear as a sense that “where you are is better than where you will be because where you will be is unknown,” Chen noted that “some of us are scared to death about our lives.”

However, Chen also said fear can also be the source of courage and new possibilities.

“Your struggles can become your new strengths,” he said.

But, as he was about to get specific about “Othello being a tight-knit community” where people are encouraged to think the same, Vergara joined Chen on the podium and after a moment of quiet conversation between the two, Chen cut his speech short.

“I will respectfully step down,” he said. “This is just the fear manifesting itself.”

Neither the incident nor the unusually brisk early June cool stopped the families of over 300 graduates from gathering to cheer and applaud.

“I’m really happy and proud!” said Guiomar Azevedo, whose son Samuel was graduating. “He’s a great kid, and he’s done a lot. He’s an Eagle Scout, raised money for the food bank, helped clean the cemetery.

She said Samuel will be studying agricultural engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, though he may come back to help run the family’s dairy near Othello.

“When we visited there last year, he just fell in love with the place,” Azevedo said. “It’s wonderful to see my son pursue his dream school.”

Of course, the Azevedos weren’t the only proud parents watching their children grasp their diplomas and begin their journeys in the wider world. As Superintendent Chris Hurst told those who gathered, this 13-year journey from kindergarten to high school is only the first of many milestones the newly minted high school graduates would face and conquer.

“Stay focused and disciplined and never give up,” Hurst said.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at countygvt@columbiabasinherald.com.

Print Article

Read More Schools

Othello facility committee first meeting Sept. 17

September 15, 2018 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald Staff Writer OTHELLO — A committee established to study facility needs in the Othello School District will hold its first meeting at 6:15 p.m. Sept. 17 in the boardroom at the Othello School Distr...

Comments

Read More

Wahluke goes back-to-school

September 11, 2018 at 5:00 am | The Royal Register MATTAWA — Students in Mattawa’s Wahluke School District had their first day of classes last Tuesday, and with another school year comes another round of changes at schools across the state. What’s ...

Comments

Read More

Smooth opening to school year in Othello

September 09, 2018 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald OTHELLO — There’s a meteorological date for the end of summer - which in 2018 is Sept. 20 - and the date summer really ends, which is the opening of school. And after a week or so, school seems to be...

Comments

Read More

Warden teacher contract details released

September 08, 2018 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald WARDEN — Warden School District teachers will make a minimum of $45,166 for the 2018-19 school year, under the terms of a three-year contract approved by Warden Education Association members and the ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

509-770-1227
705 E. Hemlock (downstairs)
Othello, WA 99344

©2018 Sun Tribune Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X