It was a remarkable day for remarkable students at a remarkable school.
Cottage Grove High School Principal Mike Ingman reminded the family and friends who gathered in the school’s gymnasium on Saturday of that fact just prior to watching the class of 2018 walk across the stage.
The graduation ceremony, which was moved indoors after an increasingly wet weather forecast moved in, was Ingman’s first as principal at Cottage Grove High School. He was appointed as interim principal after former principal Iton Udosenata announced he would be taking a position in North Eugene. At the time, Ingman served as principal of South Lane’s Kennedy High School. Kennedy’s GED specialist Halie Ketcher was moved into Ingman’s position and Ingman moved to the high school, both Ketcher and Ingman having the ‘interim’ designation in their titles removed earlier this year.
“Jacob Woods struggled as a freshman,” Ingman told the crowd. He relayed how the senior had failed to qualify academically for track before eventually raising his grades and going on to win two state titles—a first for the high school since 1991. “Jacob Woods is a remarkable student at a remarkable school,” Ingman said. The list went on. Ingman congratulated students who had encountered deaths in the family, illness and homelessness to reach graduation.
Just over 600 students turned their tassels on Saturday including four valedictorians: Faryn Dahlen, Spencer Falk, Kate Kyle and Cooper Ladd and salutatorian Jordan Hagewood.
“Today marks the day we’re not only handed a diploma, but we’re handed the world,” Ladd said, echoing his classmates who reminded their fellow graduates that they had three-fourths of their lives left—statistically—and that memories, not mementoes, were what mattered.
The class of 2018 added to the school’s graduation rate that has routinely ranked in the top three in Lane County. The most recent data from the Oregon Department of Education placed the district’s graduation rate at just under 77 percent and Cottage Grove High School’s graduation rate at 95.98 percent.