Smith River's new gym will be used on Wednesday

Del Norte's high school seniors will step across the podium, receive their diplomas and enter a world full of responsibilities and possibilities Friday.

One-hundred and ninety-two students will graduate from Del Norte High School this year, said Principal Coleen Parker. The Class of 2013 is somewhat smaller than previous classes, but its members made some big accomplishments.

"The highlight of the year is probably getting the logo squared away," Parker said.

Del Norte High School's student government, led by student body president Joren Adams, spearheaded a campaign to come up with a new Warrior logo this year. That search ended last month.

Adams is one of two valedictorians this year. The other is Blair Westbrook. Del Norte's salutatorians are Marissa Van Dyke and Ana Stevenson.

"High school is more about students taking responsibility for their learning and being an active learner, Parker said. "I anticipate this class will do well. Academically they've done well in their four years."

Del Norte High's graduation is one of four high school commencement ceremonies taking place this week. Eighth-graders also get in on the action, and while each event is special, Smith River School's commencement is especially a cause for celebration.

Even though the wood floor has yet to be placed, Smith River's eighth-graders will graduate in the school's brand new gym Wednesday, said Principal Paige Swan.

"We actually started the process of building a gym when these eighth-graders (were) kindergartners," Swan said. "They spent their entire school career helping with fundraising and raising money for this gym. Now just before they leave they actually get to graduate in the gym they spent the first nine years of their education helping to build."

The gym's roof is up, its restrooms have been installed and its walls have been painted, Swan said. Workers laid the floor in the lobby last week. Installation of the maple floor in the gym itself has been delayed due to a high moisture content in the building's concrete foundation, but everything will be dry for commencement, Swan said. The gym floor is expected to be installed later this month or early next month, he said.

The gym's construction started in August 2012. Fundraising for the gym started in 2004. The effort to build the gym received a huge boost in 2008 when Del Norte County voters approved the Measure A school bond initiative.

"I still have to pat myself and say this is not a dream, it's here," Swan said. "I hope the entire county feels good because everyone in our entire county has been a part of this."

Del Norte High School's graduation ceremony takes place at 6 p.m. Friday at Mike Whalen Field. If it's raining, the ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. in the gym.

Other high school graduations include Sunset High School, which takes place at 7 p.m. today at the Crescent City Cultural Center.

Castle Rock Charter School's eighth-graders will graduate at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds. Its 12th-graders will graduate at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the fairgrounds.

Students in the district's adult education program will graduate at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Educational Resource Center, 301 W. Washington Blvd. in Crescent City.

Smith River's graduation will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the gym, 564 First St., in Smith River.

Other eighth-grade graduations include Crescent Elk Middle School's ceremonies, which take place at 5 p.m. (Team A) and 6:45 p.m. (Team C) Thursday at the middle school.

Redwood School's eighth-graders will graduate at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the school on Lake Earl Drive in Fort Dick.

Seniors from Klamath River Early College of the Redwoods will graduate Wednesday at the Yurok Tribal Office in Klamath.

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