CORVALLIS - The Bitterroot sky dressed in Blue Devil colors for the Corvallis High School Class of 2011's graduation Saturday.
The morning sun, a recent stranger to the valley, was climbing high in a nearly cloudless sky as Corvallis seniors began arriving with their families at the Corvallis High School gym.
Most were already decked out in their royal blue gowns, but some left the gowns unzipped to stay cool as they chatted on the warming sidewalks.
Students greeted each other with whoops, hollers and hugs, their excitement building with each blue wave of friends that arrived.
Finally, the moment arrived when the 94 graduates bottled their excitement, formed into two blue streams and flowed into the gym behind a Corvallis veterans color guard to participate in a time-honored ritual.
Parents bobbed in the crowd and maneuvered for position, holding aloft video cameras, as their graduates settled into their seats.
Student body president Sonny Webber welcomed the graduates and their parents.
"It's been a long road to this day and some got lost along the way, but we all made it here," Webber said.
Both Principal Jason Wirt and Superintendent Monte Silk acknowledged that graduation speeches are rarely remembered, so they each tried something a little different.
"I could give the cliché ‘seize the day' speech, but I changed my mind because you all have taught me things," Wirt said, citing different things he had learned from the students. "When I graduated from college, I wanted to change the world, but in the end, you have changed me."
Silk congratulated the class for taking the lead in sports and other school activities, singling out the state champion teams: boys' cross-country, girls' track and boys' tennis.
"I tried hard to remember who spoke at my graduation but I couldn't," Silk said. What students do remember is all the hard work it takes to make it to graduation, he said.
Silk told the students to maintain that hard work and aspiration into the sometimes daunting world of adulthood, where dreams can fall by the wayside.
"Don't give up, don't ever give up," Silk said, quoting the late North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano and Winston Churchill.
Finally, the seniors heard from their own, as salutatorian Will Thelen and valedictorians Amanda Butt, Kaylie Holmes and Rose Montplaisir added their final thoughts. All commented on the wide range of personalities in the class, a diversity that made their class unique.
"Our teachers have said that our class motto should be ‘Mediocrity? Eh, we're OK with that.'" Thelen said. "But we are the most diverse class to come through these doors."
While Silk quoted Churchill, Montplaisir countered with a quote from a man with which her generation could more easily identify.
"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live," Montplaisir said, quoting Albus Dumbledore from "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone."
Reach reporter Laura Lundquist at 363-3300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.