At the conclusion of Pendleton High School’s graduation ceremony, principal Dan Greenough announced he was giving a brief impromptu speech.

“My name is Dan Greenough and I love my Bucks,” he said to wild applause from the class of 2018.

Several members of the class said it was a cool send-off, reminiscent of his regular announcements over the school’s intercom or addresses at assemblies.

It wasn’t the only announcement the principal made during the Saturday ceremony at the Pendleton Round-Up Grounds. Prior to the awarding of diplomas, Greenough offered a public service announcement for those in the crowd who weren’t following along on their cell phones. The Buckaroos girls’ softball team, he said, were up 3-0 in the top of the third (on their way to a 7-0 win.) Four members of the graduating class were in Corvallis playing for the state championship.

In addition, Greenough shared that more than 70 seniors received 250 scholarships from local organizations totaling $325,440. He applauded the efforts of Jill Gregg, ASPIRE coordinator, as well as 20 community members, teachers, counselors and the ASPIRE staff who assisted students in securing additional scholarships. Altogether, he said with other money awarded by schools, the military and organizations across the nation, the Pendleton class of 2018 received $1,833,174.

A trio of classmates addressed the crowd and their fellow graduates — highlighting everything from their educational experiences to successes in the classroom, extracurricular activities and on athletic fields and courts.

Jessie Patterson shared a memory from an assembly at the start of her freshman year. Members of the class of 2018, she said, greeted and shook hands with Greenough, where he encouraged them to stay on track with their education.

“Almost 200 of us kept that promise,” she said. “We are graduating from high school.”

Abigail Williams said that the road to graduation started out in grade school when “a brand new world awaited us.” It continued, she said, through the awkward stages of middle school and being “bright-eyed” freshmen to sophomores who thought they knew what they were doing to buckling down as juniors with more difficult classes and SAT exams. Their hard work and experiences, she said, will springboard them into the future.

“Wherever life will take us, I think we all will go far,” Williams said. “What we make of our lives is up to us.”

Hallie Porter said school may not have been easy for some of her classmates, but heading to college isn’t their only option. Many paths, she said, will be taken by her fellow graduates, including going to trade school, joining the workforce, serving in the military and settling down to start a family.

Patterson said the successes of members of the class of 2018 came to fruition despite being “professional procrastinators” and “Olympic snooze button hitters.” She credited teachers, school faculty and parents for prodding them along and not giving up on them.

“Despite the hardships in our lives and the obstacles we’ve faced, we’ve made it,” she said.

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Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539

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