A triumph of optimism and perseverance at Two Rivers School
June 13, 2012
By Sebastian Moraga
The hardships each had encountered seemed far away, as they sat on the stage at Chief Kanim Middle School.
They numbered barely above a dozen. Each dressed in a blue cap and gown, each a student from North Bend’s Two Rivers School, graduating from what they said was more than a school.
“At Two Rivers you are not another name on a list, you’re a person,” said student Vanessa Scott, who graduated on the same day and on the same stage as her husband Mathew. “I felt very special here.”
Classmate Kali Davis called her Two Rivers days the best of her life.
“It’s taken me three schools and five years to get to this point,” said Davis, winner of a $1,000 Kiwanis scholarship who will attend Everett Community College. “But I’m happy to be finally here.”
Imagine how student Regan Bedortha felt.
Bedortha calls Two Rivers “Eight Rivers,” because the district’s alternative school was her eighth.
Bedortha said she remembered all eight schools, from two in Vancouver, Wash., to three in Bellevue, one in Redmond, a technical college in Kirkland, and now Two Rivers.
The eighth time was the charm, Bedortha said, because teachers cared about students at Two Rivers.
“They talked to me like I was a normal kid,” she said.
Two Rivers principal Amy Montanye-Johnson said she was glad the school was Bedortha’s last stop.
“Whatever she chooses to do, she will make the world a better place,” Johnson added.
Snoqualmie Valley School Board president Dan Popp told Bedortha and the rest of the graduates, which included two students from the district’s virtual academy, that they would find a direction that was meaningful to them.
“You will make mistakes like me, and you will gain perspective,” he said. “The foundation you gain today can be the catalyst for an exciting future.”
This year’s graduates belonged to the 26th graduating class in 25 years of Two Rivers. The first year, the school held two graduations.
The class, Popp said, may serve as examples to students who may be struggling or wondering whether they can finish school.
“I think those kids only need to hear a handful of these stories to realize they can accomplish the same success,” Popp said.
Like Bedortha, who is debating whether to become a nurse or join the military and who went from eighth to first in the swing of a tassel.
“It’s wonderful,” she said. “None of my brothers graduated, my mom didn’t graduate. I get to be the first one.”