The graduates of Hayden High School celebrate Sunday by tossing their caps into the air at the end of the school's 100th graduation ceremony.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

The graduates of Hayden High School celebrate Sunday by tossing their caps into the air at the end of the school's 100th graduation ceremony.

100 years of tradition mark graduation

Hayden High School graduates 32 seniors

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Hayden High School valedictorian Lissa Hoza looks to the future after her father, School Board President Brian Hoza, gives her a diploma and a hug. Lissa Hoza was one of 32 Tigers to graduate Sunday in Hayden.

— Hayden High School's Sunday graduation ceremony was the 100th in the school's history.

It's safe to assume many of the traditions that were observed at this year's festivities have been repeated for much of that century.

The band played the "Pomp and Circumstance" as the seniors - 32, now graduated and on their way to join a dozen schools and 32 different futures - filed in.

The salutatorian and valedictorian each gave speeches sprinkled with "thank yous" for parents and teachers, "remember whens" for classmates and tears for a major life-turning point.

Guest speakers spoke about dreams and potential.

Principal Troy Zabel announced that he had approved the class for graduation, and Superintendent Greg Rockhold called each member of the class forward to accept a handshake and a diploma.

And with a turn of the tassel, a cloud of caps and a rain of silly string, the Class of 2009 made its way out of the Hayden High School gymnasium and into the world, joining the classes of Tigers that have preceded it.

The two-hour ceremony wasn't without its distinguishing characteristics, though, and neither was Hayden's centennial class.

That, with a healthy dose of tradition, is what shone through as 32 seniors met friends and family afterward with hugs of celebration.

"Greatness and enjoyment," salutatorian Mitch VeDepo said during his speech, having forced himself to find two words to describe 18 years together.

At the end of his speech, he called out to his classmates.

"Take a last look around," he said. "Remember the good times and know we are the Hayden Class of 2009."

Later, valedictorian Lissa Hoza spoke with a similar message while Ty and Gina Zabel bombarded the class with advice from people such as Walter Mondale, John Goodman and Ronald Reagan.

Much of Sunday's celebration was tried and true, familiar to anyone who's graduated or watched someone take that walk. It was an entirely new experience for the Class of 2009, for those 32 - another in a line of graduates that now dates back a century - it will never be forgotten.

"I had a lot of mixed emotions," Kylee Sweetser said. Sweetser was joined at the ceremony by three other generations of her family. Her 90-year-old great-grandmother, Helen Dobbin, made the trip from Craig for the celebration.

"Today was a memory that will stay with this class forever," Sweetser said. "We'll always remember."

"Today was a memory that will stay with this class forever," Sweetser said. "We'll always remember."

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