Morley Stanwood community celebrates 2019 graduating class

Several Morley Stanwood seniors demonstrated their creativity with decorated caps. (Pioneer photo/Maxwell Harden)

MORLEY — The Morley Stanwood High School gymnasium was filled to the brim Sunday with beaming family and friends, proud educators and anxious about-to-be graduates as the 2019 graduating class prepared to receive their diplomas.

88 seniors — decked out in caps and gowns — entered the gymnasium for the last time as Morley students.
Principal James Nelson welcomed everyone to the ceremony and assistant principal Jacob Wing introduced middle school teacher Cheri Reed, this year’s commencement speaker.
“First off, you are worthy,” Reed said during her speech. “Don’t live to fit in, be yourself.”

Casey Weed (pictured) was one of three senior speakers for Morley Stanwood. (Pioneer photo/Maxwell Harden)

The senior speakers this year were Joseph Stout, Jonathan Ramsey, and Casey Weed. Weed encouraged students to strive for their dreams.
“Today may be an ending but it’s also a beginning,” Weed said. “Live your lives to the fullest. We will always have a home at Morley Stanwood.”
Following the speeches, the band and choir debuted the school’s first-ever alma mater, “Forever Gold and Blue”. For first-year band director Adam Miller, the creation of the school’s first alma mater presented a unique opportunity both for himself as well as his students.
“About a month ago, I asked my students ‘what’s our alma mater’? Because every school has one. It turns out that this school didn’t have one. I told them that wasn’t okay, this is a high school. You need to have a school song.”
It’s not every day a first-year band director is able to create a school alma mater. After listening to alma maters from area schools and receiving input from the school staff, Miller pieced together a song that he felt was worthy of performing.

Morley Stanwood band director Adam Miller conducts his band during the graduation processional. (Pioneer photo/Maxwell Harden)

“We put it all together and this was the world premiere today,” he said. “It was very special. It was a cool opportunity to make something of my own for this school.
“(My students) thought it was cool. The choir that we had sing is a new choir; Morley hadn’t had a choir in about a decade. The opportunity for the band and choir to perform together was incredibly special.”
What was perhaps the largest cheer of the entire ceremony was not for a slam-dunk speech or a graduate’s name being called, but for high school teacher Dale Rogers for fixing a microphone issue just before the introduction of graduates. He received an ovation.

Senior Xavier Raven (right) celebrates with his mother Andrea Raven (left) following the commencement ceremony. (Pioneer photo/Maxwell Harden)

Diplomas were presented, tassels were shifted, and caps were sent flying into the air. Friends and family came together to celebrate an event that was over a decade in the making.
“It’s surreal,” senior graduate Landon Elenbaas said. “A lot of firsts and a lot of lasts starting right now. It’s interesting.”
Principal Nelson will always have fond memories of this class.
“This class was a true group of individuals. They were not scared to be themselves at any point. They came together when it mattered but weren’t scared to be themselves. I think that was the most special thing about the class of 2019.”

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