View Full Version : Grad given special ceremony

07-05-07, 09:48 AM
Published: Thursday, July 5, 2007

Grad given special ceremony

By Eric Stevick, Herald Writer

LAKE STEVENS - Mark Wold hoped to make it to the Lake Stevens High School graduation June 12, but was busy that day.

In fact, he was pretty tied up his entire senior year.

While his classmates were celebrating senior prom and graduation, Marine Lance Cpl. Wold was in Arizona and California deserts, adjusting to Iraqlike heat and training with a mortar platoon. He could be deployed to Iraq by February.

Wold, who attended Lake Stevens High School and Everett Community College under the Running Start program, met his graduation requirements last August, nearly a year ahead of his classmates.

He joined the Marines, fulfilling a childhood dream and following in the footsteps of his father; his grandfather; and his first cousin, who is a captain in the Navy.

"It was something I always wanted to do," he said.

Still, he didn't want to miss his graduation.

The Lake Stevens School District didn't want that either. So last Friday at district headquarters, with two school board members, a former teacher, Superintendent Dave Burgess, and friends and family on hand, Wold graduated with cap and gown over his military-issued khaki short sleeve button-up shirt.

Wold, 17 and recently engaged, is sure he made the right decision to join the Marines when he did, despite missing out on some of the senior year rites of passage.

"I don't regret going in early," he said.

Wold grew up fast. He completed three years of middle school in two years. On his 17th birthday, he went to enlist.

In some ways, his graduation might have been more memorable because it was so personal.

Liz Gjersee, his teacher from first through third grades at Sunnycrest Elementary School, was there to describe a bright and motivated student "from the beginning all the way until the end."

There were pictures and pictures and more pictures to be taken, a cake and punch and his beaming mom and dad, Bonnie and Kenneth, just a few feet away.

"We are very, very proud of him," Bonnie said. "We felt he needed to be recognized as a graduate."

Burgess, the superintendent, said Wold deserved a graduation rather than just an anonymous trip to the district office to pick up his diploma .

"It's simply what we should do," Burgess said.

Reporter Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446 or stevick@heraldnet.com.