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Rock on!

The BHS Class of 2004 moves into adult life with a pep talk on the value of longevity, in commencement exercises Saturday.

Don’t just rock. Rock on.

With that sage advice, from an elder who’s seen some fast times, the Bainbridge High School and Eagle Harbor High School Class of 2004 entered the world of adulthood.

“Rock with an eye toward the future,” said Ken Crawford, superintendent, urging graduates to temper their pursuits with wisdom and care.

Commencement ceremonies Saturday afternoon filled the Memorial Stadium stands beyond capacity, with hundreds of family members and friends in folding chairs flanking the graduates.

The late decision to hold the event out of doors paid off; baleful clouds held back until the presentation of diplomas, when a brief squall whipped across the podium. Then it eased, leaving mortar boards to sail into the air unchallenged.

Choralists unveiled a sublime jazz arrangement of “When You Wish Upon a Star,” while the band performed selections from the “Lord of the Rings” score.

Class speaker Phoebe Tyers urged her classmates to make a difference in the world, even as she acknowledged their own maturing as young men and women.

“I don’t call Bainbridge ‘Lamebridge’ anymore,” she said. “It’s what is familiar, what is comfortable. It’s become home.”

Speaker Jacob Pauli urged his fellows to retain their mastery of laughter – and by extension love, which he called “the laughter of the soul.”

Eight students in a class 333 strong shared valedictorian honors, each amassing a perfect 4.0 grade-point average over four years of study. As selected by students, Teacher of the Year honors went to American studies instructor David Layton; top classified employee was popular custodian Howard Elliott.

Final comments went to Crawford, who told how upon his own graduation in 1967, he piled into a Volkswagen with friends and headed for San Francisco. There, he saw the legendary Monterrey Pop Festival, at which Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin performed.

Crawford recalled those days, and the “genius, creativity and passion” of his own generation, as he searched for superlatives for the Class of 2004. Scrawled in paint in a roadway, he said, came the words:

“2004 ROCKS.”

But don’t just rock – rock on, Crawford urged. No one disagreed.

– Douglas Crist

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