Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Eagles encouraged to reach for their dreams

Managing Editor | June 12, 2024 1:20 AM

SOAP LAKE — The gymnasium was decked out with school colors and balloons, and filled with excited graduates, their families, and community members as the Soap Lake High School Class of 2024 received their diplomas. Valedictorian Anthony Beregovoy stood tall as he encouraged his classmates to reach for their dreams.

“I don’t know what your dreams are, and I don’t know what it will be for you to achieve them, but what I do know is that your dream job in your mind is possible,” Beregovoy said. 

Each Eagle graduate will have challenges and victories as they move toward their dreams, he said. Some of the failures will be heartbreaking, he acknowledged, but he told his classmates that disappointments are temporary and it is possible to move past them and find success. He noted that he wasn’t always the best student, but he learned from his mistakes and focused on achieving more scholastically. That hard work paid off and he was able to walk as the valedictorian. The trick is to find inspiration and passion and control what you’re able to, he said. Graduates won’t be able to control the weather, the people around them and other circumstances.

“What you can control is how you react to it, and whether or not you keep moving forward,” he said. 

The class chose Athletic Director, PE Teacher and Coach Keith Laughlin to give the keynote address for the ceremony.

Approaching the podium, Laughlin quipped that nobody should worry, he’d be back in his signature gym sweats and T-shirt soon, but he felt a button-down was more appropriate for the occasion. He reminded the class that they’d been through a great deal together in the gym, on the court or field and in the classrooms of Soap Lake High School. Those memories and lessons learned would stand by them well, he said, and he hoped he’d set the example he wanted as the class worked its way through the school’s halls.

“We’ve worked together. We’ve played together. We’ve sweated together. We’ve done it side by side to become a better version of ourselves,” Laughlin said. “I’ve always tried to lead by example.”

Laughlin said he hoped his now-former students would keep a positive attitude, hold a solid work ethic and continue to be willing learners. 

School counselor and math instructor Jeremiah Baergen said he was proud of the students and was glad to see them graduate, in part because they were some of his first students when he student-taught in Soap Lake just a few years ago. 

Staff had each of the graduates who had been in Soap Lake schools their full 12-year scholastic careers stand, along with those who had achieved a variety of academic milestones and those who were joining the military. 

Student Body President Gio Campos took to the podium and encouraged his fellow graduates to step forward and make a difference in the world, emphasizing that it was possible for each of the 2024 Eagles to impact those around them.

“We have succeeded and we have earned the right to celebrate this moment, but as we celebrate, I want you to remember,” he said. “Remember that this is just the beginning and there’s so much more to learn and so much more that (we can give). The world is waiting for us to leave our mark, use our talents and skills to make a difference and leave a long-lasting legacy.”

R. Hans Miller can be reached at editor@columbiabasinherald.com.

    Soap Lake Class of 2024 Valedictorian Anthony Beregovoy speaks during the Soap Lake High School commencement ceremony. Beregovoy encouraged his classmates to follow their dreams while other speakers encouraged the class to make a difference in the world and be the kind of people they look up to.

    Soap Lake students line up to go back on stage after walking across it to receive their diplomas.
    Two Eagles graduates share a moment as they walk off the stage after the commencement ceremony to be greeted by family and friends in the Soap Lake High commons.