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Congratu-lei-tions

MHS sends off 81 seniors in Molokai style.

The stuffy Barn hummed with excited chatter as the anticipation grew. Stragglers combed the stands for empty seats while mothers armed with digital cameras lined the aisles for the perfect vantage point. Then, with the opening bars of “Pomp and Circumstance,” the graduates began to enter — greeted by blasting air horns and excited applause.


Saturday’s gradation ceremony brought out about 800 people to watch the Molokai High School class of 2010 graduate.


“Just look around and soak in everything because this is the end of an awesome beginning and the start of another,” Jesse Lite told his fellow graduates in his valedictorian address.


A sense of accomplishment filled the day, along with an appreciation for what the students had been through together as a class and where they are headed.


“It’s not about what you create for yourself, it’s about what you leave behind that truly defines your success,” senior class president Chenoa Na`ilikea Ahuna-Kaai said in her speech.


This year’s graduates also got a special commencement address from Miss Hawaii 2009 Raeceen Woolford.


The students’ earnest performance of Michael Jackson’s “We Are the World,” proved the highlight of the ceremony. Swaying and snapping in true gospel choir fashion, the song seemed to embody the knowledge that these students from the tiny island of Molokai will go on to make a difference in the world.


Finally it was time for the diploma presentations. The boys danced, strutted and fist-pumped their way to the podium, all trying to out-do the last, while the girls, enjoying their moment in the spotlight, walked as gracefully as their high heels would allow. Again the gym filled with air horns, cheers and camera flashes for pictures that will undoubtedly follow the graduates for years to come.


Afterward the crowd flowed outside, turning the parking lot into a swarming sea of handmade signs, flower bouquets and piled-on lei. An occasional gust of breeze ran through the lot, tugging at balloons, sending lei flying and urging the crowd to leave, but they lingered still, enjoying this very last day of school. And a good time was had by all.

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