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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Blu-Jay graduation ceremony a send off for 30 seniors

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

Pleasanton High School seniors pause a moment before their graduation ceremony begins on Saturday, May 13. (Photos by Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

They will always be Blu-Jays, but for 30 members of the Pleasanton High School class of 2023, their journey to earn a diploma ended in a ceremony attended by a gym full of people on Saturday, May 13.

Walking into the gym to “Pomp and Circumstance” played by a brass quartet, the seniors filled the front row seats dressed in caps and gowns of the school color – Blu-Jay blue. Many of the students decorated their mortarboard caps, giving an otherwise serious affair a sense of we’re-here-to-party.

Kara Umphenour delivers her valedictorian speech to the crowd. Landry George was also named valedictorian, and Kayleann Harrington was named salutatorian.

Following the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance led by senior class president Kara Umphenour, Principal Sara Conley addressed the group of seniors.

Conley’s speech was followed by an address by Kayleann Harrington, class salutatorian. Valedictorians Landry George and Kara Umphenour gave brief speeches. George’s speech was notable because she told each class member what she would remember about them.

Tracie Bowley gets emotional after she and her husband John Bowley receive flowers from their daughter Breann Bowley.

To the music of “Long Live” by Taylor Swift, senior class members spread out through the gym, giving blue flowers to members of family and others who had helped them on their educational journey.

Following the presentation of the class by the principal and acknowledgment of the class by Superintendent Travis Laver, members of the Pleasanton USD 344 Board of Education handed out diplomas.

Following the traditional tossing of the caps, graduates filed out to the recessional only to return moments later to receive congratulations of family and friends.

Seniors applied their artistic talents to the top of their mortarboard caps.

With the ceremony over, it was time for graduates to give their caps flight in celebration.

Following the ceremony, family members and friends greeted the new graduates.

Below are more photos from Saturday's event. To download for personal use, simply click on the photo to enlarge it.

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