Lincoln Hill High graduation, 6.20.19

Scenes from the Lincoln Hill High graduation Thursday, June 20, 2019, at Stanwood High.

Jeff Schmitt started his senior year with just eight of the required 22.5 credits needed for him to graduate.

“I’ve known him six years … and he was never an enthusiastic student when it came to reading and writing,” teacher Linda Miller said June 20 during her introduction of Schmitt at the Lincoln Hill High graduation. “But he loved communication and technology.”

Miller said with the help of his aunt, Schmitt buckled down and completed a school-record 14.5 credits in 10 months to accept his diploma.

“He crammed two-and-a-half years of school into one fall, winter and spring,” she said of the now

highly motivated student. “I’m proud to introduce the unstoppable Jeff Schmitt.”

Lincoln Hill High Principal Ryan Ovenell said Schmitt put in upward of 60 hours a week to finish on time through the school’s remote program.

Schmitt was just one of the 33 Lincoln High graduates accepting their hard-earned diplomas in front of a crowd of about 450 family and friends in Stanwood High’s Performing Arts Center.

Lincoln Hill High — and Lincoln Academy, the middle school program — provide an alternative learning environment for students that aren’t finding success in a traditional school setting due to varied reasons.

It’s tradition at Lincoln Hill graduation for teachers to introduce each graduate and tell some of their stories as they head out into the world to become mechanics, computer scientists, musicians, designers and more.

Jacob Chestnut has his sights set on becoming a business leader.

“Once the goal is set, there is no barrier that can stop him,” Miller said during her introduction of Chestnut, a student who juggled two jobs during school to help support his family.  

Christopher Whisman is heading to Universal Technical Institute in North Carolina to work in the Nascar program with hopes of working in the racing industry.

“I know to the core of my being that he will be successful,” teacher Darrell Main said while introducing Whisman. “He’s an individual with a heart as huge as Texas, and I know I can trust him. If he said he was going to do something, he is going to do it.”

While two Lincoln Hill students – Jasper Newkirk and Robert Nikolin – graduated a year early, Josh Hurless learned only five hours before the ceremony that he’d officially get his diploma.

“You showed great commitment to get it done,” teacher Brett Baugh said while introducing Hurless. “Congratulations. You did it. You’re our last-minute graduate.”

Ovenell introduced Shawn Moyer, who served as the school’s student representative on the school board this year and was one of the graduation’s keynote speakers.

“He has the ability to win people over and bring people together,” Ovenell said of Moyer, who will study welding at Universal Technical Institute in Arizona. “It’s individuals like Shawn that change things for the better.”

Moyer said he’s honored to receive his diploma from Lincoln Hill High.

“Everyone comes here for a reason,” he said of LHH. “For me, it was because I needed help. But no matter your reason, tonight, we’re all winners. We all worked our tails off. We made it.

“I’m proud,” he concluded. “And nobody can take that away from us.”

Contact reporter Evan Caldwell at and follow him on Twitter @Evan_SCN for updates throughout the week and on Instagram @evancaldwell.scn for more photos.

Load comments