It started with an electric guitar and ended with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” and Silly String, but Saturday’s ceremony at Umatilla High School was all about of the Class of 2012.

Dakota Dufloth opened the 90th annual Umatilla High School Commencement ceremony by performing the national anthem on an electric guitar, and the class salutatorian, Macy Peterson, class president Isela Jaime and each of the class valedictorians — Micah Admire, Jaime Bruce, Joseph Creamer, Bridger Hurley and Jessica Siler — had the opportunity to speak.

The class was the first to graduate under Umatilla High School’s proficiency-based standards and the first in the school’s history to meet federal Adequate Yearly Progress requirements.

“We probably were one of the few classes that all of us graduating tried really hard during high school, even though we procrastinate,” said Marina Longoria, who plans to become an ultrasound technician.

Her classmates agreed.

“We did procrastinate a lot,” said Yanet Corona, a future cosmetologist. “Thank you to all the teachers who put up with us.”

Despite the procrastination, the year also marked the first time a Umatilla senior has graduated with an associate degree.

Jaime Bruce earned an associate of arts degree before his high school graduation ceremony.

“It’s sort of mind-boggling to think that he actually has his college diploma before he’s going to get his high school diploma,” principal Scott Depew said.

Peterson, class salutatorian, will take one, three-credit class this summer and be awarded her associate degree. Total, the class of 2012 earned 729 college credits during high school: the equivalent of more than 15 years of higher education.

Before the ceremony, Bruce and three of his classmates — Andres Madrigal and Edgar Leal — joked in the hallways, dubbing themselves “the three Dougs.”

“It goes by fast,” Bruce said of high school. “It’s over before you know it.”

Bruce has signed up for the U.S. Marines, Leal is looking into colleges and Madrigal plans to go into law enforcement. Including Bruce, five graduates have opted to join the military, including the Army National Guard, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force.

Many students have also been accepted into colleges and universities, and some will be the first in their families to attend. During his valedictorian speech, Creamer joked it was a class of future doctors and Wal-mart greeters.

“We’re graduating the year the world is supposed to end,” Creamer said. “I’m not sure which I’m more worried about: the economy or the Mayan calendar.”

                

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