Class of 2002 ready to take on the world

The cold weather did little to chill spirits at Henderson Stadium Friday night during graduation ceremonies for the Hood River Valley High School Class of 2002. Onlookers bundled in winter coats and huddled under blankets cheered the graduates as dark storm clouds threatened — but did not produce — rain and a blustery wind blew tassels and lifted mortar boards off the heads of some graduates.

Lindsey Sanguras and Teresa Ocampo welcomed the graduates and audience in English and Spanish. Sanguras used food as an analogy to the graduates’ past and future.

“For the past 13 years our flavors have been carefully chosen for us,” she said. “Starting tomorrow and for the rest of our lives, we must be prepared for the all-you-can-eat buffet.

“Life is full of desserts,” she added, “and Class of 2002, it’s time to dig in.”

The wind echoed in the microphone as the valedictorians were announced. Assistant superintendent Marcia LaDuke said, “Most of us would love to be in their shoes right now,” as she introduced the seven students: Lindsay Benjamin, David Brennan, Jessica Bryan, Oliver Burton, Kerry Hart, Jennine Page and Lindsey Sanguras.

Class speakers Nathan Armerding and Yecenia Martinez delivered eloquent speeches in English and Spanish.

Armerding said that Friday night marked “the beginning of what many of us have perceived life to be about,” while for others it brought only “greater uncertainty.”

He spoke about the “extensive changes” not only to HRVHS during the past year but also the “powerful economic and political changes” around the world. Armerding spoke directly of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and their effects on the Class of 2002 — both immediately afterward and in the future.

“Once-important concerns of day to day life seem trivial,” he said. “We’ve been forced to look at what’s truly important.”

He directed his fellow graduates not to be “controlled by paralyzing fear” as a result of terrorism.

“Let us find good to do and pursue it,” he said. He quoted from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”: “The time is out of joint. O cursed spite! That ever I was born to set it right!”

“What if we have been born in a time to set things right?” Armerding asked.

“Our time is now,” he said.

The graduates and audience stood during the class song, “Stand With Us,” written by music director Mark Steighner. As the graduates filed across the stage to receive their diplomas, beach balls were kept aloft by students in the bleachers as if in defiance of the wintry weather. The evening concluded with the tassel ceremony and fireworks. Graduates lingered on the lawn even as parents and other onlookers scurried away to find shelter from the cold.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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