Community, Cottage Grove, Creswell, Education, Pleasant Hill, Springfield

Graduation 2024: How sweet it is!

The Chronicle’s one-of-a-kind graduation magazine is included with papers next week! See senior portraits and graduation celebrations. Thursday, June 27


COTTAGE GROVE – Family and friends showed up and showed out at Cottage Grove High School’s graduation last Saturday, like senior Hayden Voelkel’s group pictured at right with custom-made t-shirts. As valedictorian Talan Schweitzer put it, no graduate makes it to the stage alone.

“None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for my incredible parents, my brother Zane, amazing teachers, and lifelong friends,” Schweitzer said. “For that I say, give love to the ones around you who have assisted your journey.”

Schweitzer also noted how malleable this graduating class had to be, but how they didn’t let that stop them from pursuing their goals.

“We’ve embraced change, broken past struggles, and performed unforgettable feats. Freshman year especially, with the time that vanished from us due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Schweitzer said. “Despite everything, we didn’t let these prevent us from achieving greatness. Facing them straight on with motivation to reach future goals has been our way to accept uncertainty ahead.”
– Pierre Weil


CRESWELL – The 116th graduating class of Creswell High School served as a special group, as the newly-minted alumni marked the end of the COVID-era. This group of graduates was the incoming freshman class for the fully-online 2020-21 school year.

“I’m not going to talk about the hardships our class has gone through, besides having to wear face masks, or how we all loved to turn off our zoom cameras during COVID every morning,” said co-salutatorian Trenton Booher. “This class has had some incredible experiences; I won’t forget the memories and friendships that we’ve forged during the past couple of years.”

As families embraced, like top middle, or graduates posed for families to take pictures, like top right, it was important to the Class of 2024 to remind everyone of Charles Dickens’ famous quote that often makes the rounds this time of year.

“As Charles Dickens once said, ‘It was the best of times; it was the worst of times,’” co-valedictorian Lauren Bailey said. “There’s so many good memories to reminisce on, but it’s also a time to move on to so many memories and new experiences. I can’t wait to see and hear about all the amazing things our class is going to accomplish.”
 – Pierre Weil



SPRINGFIELD – High school graduation is often a bittersweet, and nerve-racking moment, for graduates. The rose-colored glasses are on as the seniors reflect on their four years, but the impending life decisions that must be made now loom as well. It’s why a simple message in the moment can often give the graduates the confidence they need.

“Chase your dreams with reckless abandon,” Dante Castille, a transition specialist at Springfield High School, said at Springfield’s 2024 graduation last weekend.

Castille noted that success doesn’t happen without hard work and discipline, and despite high school often getting written off as an easy, carefree experience, it’s far from it.

“Most of us have known each other since kindergarten, and have gone on this educational journey together. The reality of the next step in our journey is that most of us will be going our separate ways. Although this is bittersweet, it is the first stepping stone to our futures,” said Alejandra Padilla Diaz, Springfield’s senior class president. “This is the end of an era for us, but it just means we’ve been granted a new beginning to be excited about. We all have a life ahead of us full of adventures and opportunities. Believe you can, then you will.”
– Pierre Weil


SPRINGFIELD – For the second-straight year social studies teacher Tyler Nice was selected as one of the two teachers to speak at Thurston High School’s graduation. This time around, Nice’s brother-in-law Gustavo Anaya, a math teacher, gave the speech alongside Nice.

Nice and Anaya shared much wisdom that only a pair of “bros” could share with the graduates, like, “Don’t be afraid to make choices,” “practice gratitude,” and Anaya’s hard-held belief that puns never go out of style.

“When I was initially invited to deliver the commencement address, some were nervous that I would rattle off a series of puns. Those people were right,” Anaya said. “These graduates have spent the last 12 years ‘Thurston’ for knowledge, which created a ‘Colt’ure of growth, leading to a ‘Thurs’-ton of learning.”

Thurston also honored its co-valedictorians and co-salutatorians, with nine seniors earning a perfect 4.0 GPA throughout their time at Thurston and three earning salutatorian honors.

“I do truly hope, as I see all my fellow classmates graduate today, that we will look back at these moments and look confidently into the future,” said Natalia Brunton, senior class president. “Life doesn’t always turn out exactly how we wanted it to go. But what do we do as people when that happens? We get back up stronger than before.”
– Pierre Weil



View this profile on Instagram


The Chronicle (@thechronicle1909) • Instagram photos and videos