378 graduate from Mercer Island High School Thursday, June 6

Faculty and students watch as one of three rounds of diplomas are handed out at Key Arena on Thursday. - Matt Brashears/Special to the Reporter
Faculty and students watch as one of three rounds of diplomas are handed out at Key Arena on Thursday.
— image credit: Matt Brashears/Special to the Reporter

Mercer Island High School celebrated its 56th annual commencement on Thursday, June 6, at Key Arena. The Class of 2013 included 378 graduates who celebrated earning their high school diplomas.

The evening featured a national anthem performed by Jacob Aboulafia, who cracked a smile at his classmates as they cheered for him on stage.

The five class valedictorians – Isabel Christy, Corey Goelz, Natalie Marques, Emily Morse and Christina Williamson – spoke about navigating the future and that despite all the technology that connects us, to never lose that personal touch. Their speech was following by a rousing clarinet duo by Jimmy Abrahamson and David Stewart playing Duet No. 2 for Two Clarinets by Henri Lazarus, which earned them a standing ovation.

One of the highlights of the night was the faculty speech by MIHS band director Parker Bixby. His speech, "Don't lie to your parents," highlighted what he tells his students every Friday as they leave.

"Don't lie to your parents, they love you," he said, with members of the band echoing his words. He explained that as wonderful and as exciting the day is for the graduates, it's more exciting for their parents, families and teachers who have worked for 18 years to get them to this point.

Julie Hamp and Alexandra Jones sang "Miles of Time" from the play Trails accompanied by Jessie Lu on the piano. Lu returned later for a performance with violinist Caleb Chuck.

The senior class officers – Max Tilden, Maxwell Wootton, Madeline Larkin and Robert Sun – highlighted the freedom ahead of the class before leading the seniors in the ceremonial tassel flip.

The Class of 2013 included: 378 students, five valedictorians, two salutatorians, 32 National Merit Commended scholars, seven National Merit Scholarship finalists and three National Merit Scholarship recipients, 198 Washington State Honors award winnings, 21 Washington State principal scholars and 191 winners of the presidential award, given to students with a grade point average of 3.5 and higher. Three students also received their associate degrees from Bellevue College and 371 members of the class have plans to attend a four-year university of college in the fall.

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