Honored grads

Central Christian School

• Valedictorian: Madison Holsey

• Salutatorian: Savannah Poole

Redmond High School

• Valedictorians: Kim Roberts, Treyson Conley

• Salutatorian: Alexander Smith

Ridgeview High School

• Valedictorian: Justin Irby

• Salutatorian: Garrett Crouch

Redmond Proficiency Academy • Valedictorians: Makayla Ferguson, Alexander Kruger, Elizabeth Roti, Emalyn Stecher, Blake Noble, Jorge Luis Terrazas, Erin Cork, Josephine Stephens, Hannah Ortman, Aidan Bremont, Sarah DeChristopher, Logan Noble and John Fawcett • Salutatorian: Sabrina Torres

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Thousands of people crowded into the First Interstate Bank Center at the Deschutes County fairgrounds last week to watch a total of 435 students graduate from Ridgeview and Redmond high schools.

The two ceremonies saw a combined total well above the 381 students that graduated in 2017 and just below the exceptionally high figure of 452 graduates in 2016.

Between the two schools, students earned more than $2 million in scholarship money.


The 207 graduating Panthers came out at their June 8 ceremony wearing white caps and gowns, a change from 2017, when they wore black, and the traditional maroon worn in 2016.

Many of the students sported tricked-out mortarboards, featuring American flags, symbols of their chosen college or sayings like “The Mighty Grad.”

The event featured speeches from co-valedictorians Kim Roberts and Treyson Conley. Roberts wowed the crowd with her speech about true freedom and not being tethered.

To illustrate the speech, Roberts kept a smiley-face balloon next to her. Near the end, she took out scissors and cut the cord, allowing the balloon to float until it hit the ceiling of the large hall.

“Sometimes you’ll hit a ceiling, or you’ll hit a glass ceiling,” she said. “But the thing about glass is it can be broken.”

Kiki Fierstos, Redmond’s student body president, said the class of 2018 is different from previous groups because it consists of gamechangers.

“Some of us seated here come from broken families, some of us come from financial instability, some of us come from couchsurfing and one meal a day, if we’re lucky, some of us come from abuse and neglect,” she said. “We all have our own stories, our own struggles, our own hardships...and we have a dream — a dream to be a gamechanger, a dream to change the world and leave a legacy, to leave it better than when we were brought into it.”

Assistant Principal Sarah Peterson told the students the importance of the dash between the day of their birth and that of their death. Because the dash represents what the students do with their lives.

“As the class of 2018, you have left a legacy that will be part of Redmond High School for years to come,” she said. “You have made Redmond High School a better place to learn and grow for everyone within its walls. And you have made Redmond, Oregon, a better place to live.”

Mayor George Endicott told the students the importance of being able to communicate, both verbally and in writing. He compared two inventors — Thomas Edison, a rich and famous promoter, and Nikola Tesla, who died with little money, despite some better ideas.

“Both men had great ideas, but the one who succeeded was the one who knew how to communicate, keep that in mind please,” Endicott said.


Ridgeview saw its graduating class of 228 students pick up their diplomas June 6. Students wore Hawaiian leis, with some even dying their hair Raven purple for the occasion.

Salutatorian Garrett Crouch poked fun at valedictorian Justin Irby, saying Irby became more arrogant by the year.

But, in his speech, Irby admitted to being forced to change his ways after a woman he thought was drunk approached him in a Thriftway parking lot. While Justin moved away as the woman started to fall, his father, Ridgeview calculus teacher Denny Irby, helped break her fall and helped her into the store.

It turned out the woman was not actually drunk, but suffering side effects from a medicine that can lead to intense dizziness, Justin Irby said.

“But to me that didn’t matter, what mattered was I was in a position to help someone who needed help, and I didn’t do so for virtually no good reason,” he said. “I had always prided myself on being someone who didn’t take his gifts for granted and tried to make good of everything that I had. But, even so, I realized that I had become extremely arrogant...I was actually self-absorbed.”

The event led Justin to realize his father was his hero.

“You are the person I aspire to be one day, and I love you,” he said.

Principal Lee Loving told the story of a man who drove his pickup by himself 20 miles into the mountains, only to get stuck. He wasn’t able to get the traction to get out of the hole until he started filling the bed of the truck with wood.

“Graduates, sometimes you mistakenly believe that happiness is the absence of a load, but bearing a load is a necessary, essential part of being truly happy,” he said. “Each of us carry a load. This load is a mixture of experiences, demands and opportunities.”

The event also included Ridgeview’s annual awarding of an honorary diploma to a veteran who was unable to graduate high school as a youth because of military commitments. But this time, Navy veteran Richard Proffitt was joined by his wife, Joan, in being honored.

Amanda Felton was voted by seniors to give the faculty address. The popular teacher, whose given the speech before, told a story about how she learned to let her ego go after falling into a trash can as a young teacher.

“That was probably the best thing to happen to me in my first year of teaching,” she said. “I needed to be humbled. You see, life is not about commanding respect, it’s about earning respect. How could I take myself so seriously when I’d fallen into a trash can in front of my students?”

— Reporter: 541-548-2186, gfolsom@redmondspokesman.com