Moscow High School teacher Mark Shipley said he witnessed acts of peace, grace, mercy, perseverance, generosity and lots of kindness the last four years from the 2019 senior class.

But he said “love” best describes the 188 graduates who sat in front of him at the Moscow School District’s 127th commencement Friday night at the Kibbie Dome.

During his commencement address, Shipley told the students and the large crowd in attendance that the students love and care for each other through everything. To illustrate, he said he sometimes posts a question of the day for students at the start of class.

“Many times during those deeper questions, I’ve actually seen you guys jump out of your seats to console each other, to comfort each other, and when I witness those acts of grace and love, I feel really lucky,” Shipley said.

Shipley left his students with four life lessons during his 15-minute speech, which was comical and sarcastic, but heartfelt.

“Remember to laugh; remember to love each other; remember that when events happen to you, your response to them helps define you; and last, to let curiosity drive you,” he said.

Shipley advised the class to laugh if and when you can.

“It makes life a lot more fun,” he said.

When speaking about curiosity, he used examples from his life.

Shipley said he once rode his bicycle with his eyes closed to see what would happen — slamming into a telephone pole was the result. He said he ordered the dumbest thing on every menu and shut down half a school when experimenting with chemicals and electricity — both out of curiosity.

Of course, there are limits to curiosity, Shipley warned.

Seniors Jackson Alexander and Marshall McMillan addressed their fellow classmates prior to Shipley.

Alexander said he and his classmates have been on a path to this day for 12 years — from learning cursive in elementary school, to reading Ernest Hemingway, McMillan said.

“Over the past 12 years, suffice it to say, we’ve gone through a lot — all together,” Alexander said.

“Through each and every one of these shared experiences, we learned more about our classmates and more about ourselves,” McMillan followed.

Alexander said the class is a community of kind, welcoming and generous people.

“Wherever you go in these next years, find and create your new communities,” Alexander said. “But always remember this one — the Moscow High School Class of 2019.”

While many of the graduates will miss their high school experience, they are also ready for life’s next step — whether that be college, work or even missionary service.

Cole Hansen will embark on the latter.

Hansen told the Daily News his missionary service for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will take him to Lubbock, Texas, for two years. He then plans to attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Hansen, who stood in line with his classmates prior to taking his seat for the start of commencement, said he was excited to be with his friends.

“We’ve come a long way together,” Hansen said.

Brooke Spurgeon said she will continue working for the next year before enrolling at a trade school — either for welding or construction.

“It’s a crazy feeling,” she said less than 30 minutes before the ceremony started. “There’s a bunch of feelings going on.”

She said her senior year went by slowly but also too fast.

“Throughout the year, I was definitely one of the people who was like, ‘Can’t wait to get out of here,’ ” Spurgeon said. “But now that it’s happening, I’m like, ‘OK, everyone was right. I’m definitely going to miss this a little bit.’ ”


Garrett Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to gcabeza@dnews.com.

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