18 graduate Echo Schools

<p>Echo Valedictorian Kirsten McCallum, front left, and Salutatorian Felicia Lara, front right, react to part of their graduation ceremony on Friday.</p>

With the passing of a diploma and turn of tassel, each of Echo’s 18 seniors became high school graduates Friday night.

Students said each senior had a distinct personality, and everyone knew each other well.

Class valedictorian, Kirsten McCallum, for example, has attended Echo Schools since kindergarten.

“It’s a sense of relief that all of the work we’ve put in over the past four years has paid off and now it’s time for us to be recognized,” McCallum said. “I don’t know if I have a favorite memory. There are so many memories I’ve made with my friends this year, with high school sports, all the bus rides with the teams and seeing my friends every day.

McCallum plans to attend Boise State University to study engineering, while the class salutatorian, Felicia Lara, will take a year off to help family struggling with medical issues. Lara said she plans to attend Washington State University to study pre-med with a goal of becoming an oncologist.

“I think being a doctor is the best way to help people, especially in oncology, where there are so many people who need that help and support but might not get it,” Lara said.

The salutatorian called graduation exciting.

“It’s liberating,” she said. “Now we get to make our own decisions, explore, find ourselves.”

Esau Ibarra is on the way to find himself. He will attend the University of Oregon next fall but said he is unsure what he will major in or what career he will pursue.

“It feels good to finally be out of high school. I won’t miss the homework,” Ibarra said, adding he will miss high school sports, especially basketball. “It was a great year for me, a great year for my team.”

Rachael Round said she will not miss the high school drama, but will miss experiences with her classmates.

“I’ll miss all the inside jokes, all the times we goofed around,” she said. “We are a really outgoing class, and we really don’t care what people think.”

Amanda Lancaster also stressed the way the class came together as a whole and became friends, despite different backgrounds.

“I’ve been here since the third grade with all these people. It hasn’t really hit me yet that we’re graduating,” she said. “I think when we’re sitting up there with our caps and gowns and receiving our diplomas, it will finally hit me.”

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