The Marshfield High School Class of 2023 walked across the stage for the last time Saturday night, celebrating graduation for a group of resilient, talented and passionate students.
The night started off with a surprise as Athletic Director Greg Mulkey unveiled the 2023 state championship banner for the boys track and field team. Mulkey specifically called out senior Alex Garcia-Silver, who won five individual state titles and two team titles in his time at Marshfield.
Principal Eli Ashton bragged even more about the senior class. He said the students amassed more than 1,000 college credits while in high school, volunteered more than 3,500 hours and represented the school well in athletics, CTE and other school activities.
Ashton also pointed out the six seniors who will be joining the military after graduation.
In his last speech before the Class of 2023, Ashton told the students to never be afraid to stand and stand out.
“Be original and be the best you, you can be,” Ashton said. “You may not be perfect, but that’s why you can be perfect. Don’t be afraid to take a risk, even it won’t be the best. If it’s your best, it’s perfect.”
Superintendent Charis McGaughy thanked the senior class for making her first year leading the district so successful.
“You are incredibly talented,” McGaughy said. “The depth and breadth of your talent is awe inspiring. I am deeply moved and inspired by your incredible community service, more than 3,500 hours. You are amazing role models. Thank you for your service and for your leadership.”
Kim Brick, the chair and Coos Bay School District Board of Directors, told the seniors that life may throw curve balls at them, but she is confident they can succeed.
“You may know exactly what you want to do in your life,” Brick said. “I say, go forth, but know that life happens. Be flexible with your expectations so you can change when needed. For those of you who have no idea what’s next, that’s OK. There’s still time to pivot.”
Brick ended her comments by quoting Winston Churchill.
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure without a loss in enthusiasm.”
Five Marshfield seniors shared their thoughts about graduation and their years at the school.
“I’m beyond proud of what all my friends and classmates have accomplished over the last four years, especially this past year,” Zoe Thomas said. “I could go on and on listing the accomplishments of this class. I consider myself lucky to have spent five years with this group of talented, funny people.”
“Remember, as we’re entering the real world, all of the people who have helped us along the way,” Destiny Grissom said. “When times are rough, remember the people who have your back and are willing to help.”
Asher Colm talked about his experiences fighting through serious issues but still coming out on top.
“I thought my experience is important to hear about because I thought it proves everyone who struggles with mental health can still accomplish great things,” Colm said.
“People ask what motivates me, and the answer is and always will be my parents and my siblings,” said Marisol Carreno-Yanez, who graduated a year early. “Thank to those two amazing people who sacrificed everything for me to stand on this stage today. You may be traveling the road less travelled, but you are not always alone. We are paving the road for those coming behind us.”
“We began our Marshfield experience in a normal way, and we ended that way,” said Elizabeth Delgado. “The time in between taught us to be grateful for what we had. It’s about joining, learning, thinking and finding our own voice.”
History teacher Garrett King was chosen to talk for the Marshfield staff, and he told the Class of 2023, he grew up as a teacher as they grew up as students.
“In many ways, we’ve grown up together, and we have finally found our footing,” King said. “You are a group I will always cherish and remember. It’s because of the students here that I’m still a teacher and still passionate about it.
Finally, after listening to speech after speech, the Class of 2023 got what it came for as each of the students crossed the stage and received the diploma from Ashton.