Welcome To Ellensburg High School



Three Graduates Speak
(Reprinted From The Daily Record June 7th, 1969)

Editor’s note: The following three items are excerpts from the three senior speakers’ comments EHS commencement, Tuesday, when 210 students including 5 with all A’s completed their high school work:

JOHN SCHNEBLY: If I have learned one thing in the past 12 years it has been the fact that to get an education that is complete it is necessary to leave the school and class room behind. It is true that we learn to objectively analyze facts and concepts in school but education has to start with experience and experience means involvement in life.

To achieve this education means to become modern day Don Quixotes, swinging windmills on whirling whims and losing our heads on unrealistic ideals. It means to play the fool in order to be hurt by the brutalities of experience…for the pure unmitigated sense of experiencing life in all its forms. It is time we get away from worshipping the future, time to stop planning for life and start living.

We have laid our lives on the sacrificial altars of this modern day deity we call the future. We are supposed to get good grades so we can be admitted to a good college, so we can get a good job, so we can enjoy the good things in life-and all at the expense of living. On this gravy train to the good things in the future everything has become standardized- from those wonderful standardized textbooks which have accompanied us on the route to standardized obituary notices which will be our final celebration.

Those who shun the value of this system are punished for their nonconformity but in choosing to deny this system they have chosen to face existence without a peaches and cream protective attitude. For leaving the square classrooms with the square books and the square teachers behind-for refusing to participate in planned, extracurricular activities which build you into a nice well-rounded youth, they will be the true inheritors of the diversity and creativity unique to the human race. It is when we think it is the job of society to protect us from fear and tensions-the very essence of life itself-that we lose our battle to those who wish to subject man to the animal qualities of heard domination and control.

So, let us go out and achieve this education. How much it is we learn about communication and understanding other people while driving up and down 8th street on nights of endless neon expansion, or at backseat stands during drive-in movies, or in spending days and nights looking through the brown glass bottled world in all its myopic splendor. There are many seniors I can happily call my friends as the result of such an experience.

“Short is the season of man’s delight,” said the Greek poet Pindar, 2,500 years ago, and it is upon this note that I also support the extended education of us seniors, and of all seniors past and future. We know not the value of a good and stable job in the future but we do know the acute shortness of life.

For some 70 odd years we are on a stage and have a choice in the parts we play: to bow out to experience and place our trust in a future till there is no longer a future to trust; or to play our parts to the fullest extent-living each moment – seizing the day-come whatever what may. Today let us live so tomorrow we can tolerate and understand our children when they invent even wackier ways of turning on and having fun. My parents have shown a complete ignorance of the new math and other weird ideas I have picked up in school, but from their own experience outside of school, 30 years ago, they can understand my madcap flings as I will understand my children’s. And of such is the university of this type of education-an education that creates diversity and creativity, broadens communication and understand, and pierces the artificial strictures of the generation gap.

JACK POWELL—One date in history that we should never forget is 1957. Although we may not remember some of the events, Dwight D. Eisenhower took office as President of the United States after being elected to his second term, the New York Yankees were put in second place in the World Series by Milwaukee, and the U.S.S.R. put their first satellite, the Sputnik 1, into space.

We probably, do , however, remember that in Ellensburg, another historical even took place, on which was more important to us, this being that the Senior Class of 1969 started their academic career in the first grade.

When we look back on that school year 12 years ago, we probably remember only a very few things, such as the name of our teacher, some of the people in our class, and maybe how the third graders were always picking on us. There were 180 days in that school year, though somehow it now seems only a few awkward moments in time.

The second and third grades soon followed, and on a world scale, the United States and Russian were just starting the space race.

Between the years 1960 and 1962, our fourth, fifth, and sixth grades, a multitude of events took place. We had somewhere around 100 million people in the United States, and they seemed pretty evenly split between the presidential candidates, Kennedy and Nixon.

In space race, things weren’t nearly so close. The Soviets had orbited a man 17 times around the earth before we had even ventured into space. Girls and boys were starting to get to know each other better off the diamond, too.

The seventh grade was quite a shock for many of the sixth graders who had just gone from a one room-one teacher set up to a Junior High program. They had another big shock this year; this was the death of John F. Kennedy. When we look back we can probably remember where we were and what the conditions were when the President’s death was announced, but life did go on.

The eighth grade came and went with all kinds of excitement. On the National Front, Goldwater was completely wiped out of the presidential race by the overwhelming victory of Johnson, and St. Louis knocked the Yankees so badly out of the World Series that it would take several years for them to recover.

The ninth grade was a good year for the students. We were now the biggest and the oldest in the school, and no seventh grader would dare push around his big upper classmen.

The following year, we started a brand new experience in High School, and the sound of Mickey Mouse came at us from every direction, and we can still probably see sights of food flying in all directions that year when food fights were an everyday occurrence. By the sophomore year a decade of history and school life had taken place since we started the first grade. Forty new nations had been born in this period of time, and we had seen the space race go from Sputnik to Gemini VII.

In the second year of high school, we were introduced to a brand new principal. With Mr. (William) Brown, whom we had just come to know and like, retired and a new guy, Doctor (Rod) Hermes, taking his place, we had the experience of going from one principal to another.

And now we have the year which we have all been looking forward to for so long, the last year in high school. Although world affairs were much farther from our minds than the Vantage parties or graduation, Mr. Vancil saw that we kept will up on not only what happened in Ancient Mesopotamia, but also what is happening in Biafra. The war in Vietnam is starting to seem much closer now to many of our students who can anticipate military service, though many will be exempt for a few years by going to college. At any rate, this will probably be the last time that we will all be together, with the Senior Class more that likely dispersing throughout the world. But as we go, each in a separate direction, let us remember how much history has taken place in these twelve years. Remembering not only such world shaking events as the death of President Kennedy, his brother Robert Kennedy, or John Glenn orbiting the earth, but let us also remember the much small things which will never be recorded in history books, but should always be kept in that little special place for such affairs.

JIM JONGEWARD---In my near past, I used to pride myself on my open-mindedness. I look back now and think-Was I really open-minded? I would talk to those who wore the right clothes, had the right friends, and of course turned out for all sports. These were the only people to talk to. I was a social climber with a hate complex. I wouldn’t think of talking to some one without these superficial qualifications. I continued on this dead-end path clear through my sophomore year in High School. Then I stopped and took a good look at myself and the others around school. Wow! Through my Senior year I came to realize that just about everyone was using everyone else and, most important of all, we were creating within ourselves the greatest capacity for hate that we might ever have.

Hate is a very complex thing. Ignorance is often the foundation upon which hate is built. Being ignorant is synonymous with being uninformed and unaware. Wallowing in ignorance will naturally breed fear in what is not understood. This results in misunderstanding. These three things, ignorance, fear and misunderstanding, together form the fourth complexity of hate- Prejudice. We might pride our selves in being rational people, but do rational people form opinions without taking time and care to judge fairly? Many of us don’t even take the trouble to think.

Unfortunately, Ellensburg is not sharing enough of the elements that are disrupting the normality of other cities throughout the nation. We have a college to help stimulate our thinking, yet we remain nave. Hate is something we read about in the newspapers-Angry Black Militants, Angry White Militants, Communist Oriented Radical Elements, Hate filled Yippies, and of course, Peace Loving Hippies. Because of our sheltered environment, it might be said that we have actually been programmed to hate. Our lives have been too much one sided-not really well rounded at all. We have been brought up in ignorance to such things as starvation, extreme poverty, having to quit High School to support a family. Many of us may have never talked to a Negro, a girl awaiting an abortion, or even an old man waiting to die. We are not accustomed to any radical ideologies or concepts. From our ignorance we very easily fear the things that we have not grown accustomed to and naturally we close our minds and misunderstand them. We all went through grade school and Junior High School together with many of our teachers teaching at us rather than with us or through us. We were not all treated as individuals but as a group. We were becoming pattern people, readied for shipment to the outside world, except many of our teachers didn’t really know what the outside world was all about. Then a remarkable thing happened.

We entered High School and many of us realized we weren’t the cute little kids we thought we were-and those who would, began accepting a little responsibility. The intelligent students, realizing that college and the outside world lay just around the corner, began pursuing their interests, and thinking different thoughts, their own individual thoughts. This segment realized that it was time to do their own thing, to stand alone as individuals for the things they believe in. Learning to do ones’ own thing is hard In this process, some of us may become conspicuous, and invite displays of hate and fear, from other groups and individuals. Three years ago, one group in our high school, took on the task of rehabilitating a student because they didn’t appreciate his style. Another year a small group called the gypsies was chosen as the object of our hatred. This year, we have again developed a couple of sub-cultures, around which most of us have chosen sides and developed hatred.

According to what we read in the newspapers this makes them hippies, potheads, speed freaks and sexual perverts. Accordingly, one civic-conscious group of us took the burden of straightening these misfits out. We hassled them. The sound reasoning behind these actions? “We don’t like long-haired hippies.” There isn’t a person here tonight who doesn’t dislike someone. But we’re one up on the animals. We have the capacity for thinking and reasoning instead of hating and fighting. The choice is ours and the intelligent will choose the right one.

Hate will never accomplish the great things that love and understanding can, given the chance. Thinking of others and their rights will become as important as thinking of our own. We complain and rebel because our parents are leaving us their fragmented world, seeded with their problems, arising from their mistakes and bad judgment. But if we stop and think, we will realize that we have an even better chance to mess things up than they did. We will have the greatest responsibilities ever handed down to a new generation. Our lives will depend on the decisions we make. There will be no second chances. Hindsight, foresight, tempered with love, understanding, and respect for each other will be the only truly peaceful way to live.