Congratulations, Micah Nelson
by James Joyce III
Yakima Herald-Republic

It was hard to miss the braided ponytail hanging to the waist of Willie Nelson on Saturday at the Yakima Area Arboretum.

The famed country singer and his wife, Annie, were in town to honor their son, Micah Nelson, who graduated from Christa McAuliffe Academy, a Yakima-based Internet school.

Micah was chosen as co-salutatorian of Christa McAuliffe’s 28-student graduating class.

Based in Paia, Hawaii, Micah spends much of his time traveling and doing humanitarian work while still attending high school through Christa McAuliffe’s time-flexible courses over the Internet.

Allan Korvola, Christa McAuliffe’s director of education, said he thought the guy with the ponytail looked familiar at first, but didn’t realize until later that it was Willie Nelson.

“He didn’t want to sing or anything. He sat there quietly. He was there for his son’s graduation. It was his son’s time to shine,” Korvola said. “I just thought that was neat.”

Willie’s low-key demeanor may also be attributed to the fact that he’s no stranger to the Yakima area.

He’s played several shows here and had purchased a home for his late mother, Myrle Harvey, in the Gleed area.

During his latest visit, the braided ponytail wasn’t the only signature to identify the singer-songwriter/actor. Korvola and a handful of others in the estimated crowd of 110 people also walked away with Willie’s “John Hancock” in their graduation programs.

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