Giggles, high-fives and wows met high school seniors at PineCrest Thursday.
Members of the Class of 2016 donned caps and gowns and took to the stage of their former school. The assembly and breakfast to honor them are part of a 12-year tradition. The first group of students to attend PineCrest graduated in 2004. PineCrest opened in 1998.
Olympic High senior Foxx Diaz has returned weekly to PineCrest as a teen mentor, but getting on stage made him a little anxious. "I watched this same assembly all my years here," he said.
Others hadn't been back since leaving in sixth grade.
"I've been waiting for this day ever since I was little," said Georgia Felts, who since attending PineCrest moved to Gig Harbor and will graduate from Peninsula High School.
The seniors told current students their favorite memories of PineCrest. They shared what they'll do when they graduate. And they imparted a few words of advice.
Here is a bit of what they shared:
A former PineCrest student takes a selfie with her fifth-grade teacher, Mr. Olp.
Many fondly recalled Whiskers night out. One snuck candy from a teacher's office. Several loved their sixth-grade trip to IslandWood. And several made best friends they kept through high school.
And at least a half dozen mentioned loving teacher Terry Olp's fifth-grade class. "We had a class with great chemistry that year," Olp said.
What They'll Do After Graduation
Many will attend Olympic College. Some will find jobs, possibly at the shipyard.
One intends to go to Central Washington University on his way to becoming a fighter pilot (that got reverent wows). Others will go into nursing, education and the military.
Much of the advice paralleled themes that students have been hearing in school: work hard, cherish your friends, have some fun. Class of 2016 members also had other advice:
Don't be afraid to say, "I love you."
Do what makes you happy, not what you think should make you happy.
Shoot for infinity and beyond — just like Buzz Lightyear.
Enjoy recess while you can.