Mountain View grads reflect on their high tech times
Most students in this year's Mountain View High School graduating class were about two years old in 1994, when a company called Netscape released what would become the world's most popular Web browser. This is a generation that has spent nearly its entire life online, and a great deal of its adolescence firing off text messages with a velocity frightening to parents — even with unlimited data plans.
It is fitting then, that senior Kevin McKee kicked off his farewell speech to the 410 graduating Spartans and the more than 2,000 adoring family members and friends gathered at Carl Anderson Field by declaring, "Sixty percent of you are so bored that you're on your phone's internet browser right now."
McKee's speech, "A Spartan Education," went on to use "Avatar" — a film created almost entirely within whirring computer processors — as a metaphor to synopsize his time spent at Mountain View High School: "Going in, your expectations are extremely high. Then, after 10 minutes, it gets really confusing. Pretty soon you realize how long it is! Drifting off, you think to yourself, 'Maybe it wasn't such a great idea to stay up 'til 3 in the morning.' But no matter how much you complain, you loved it."
After the ceremony McKee said that he often reflects on the world he has grown up with and wondered what it may have been like in a simpler time, before cell phones, mobile Internet and computer-generated imagery.
"It's really had a big impact on my life," he said. "Every day, we're interacting with wireless technology. We're almost always connected, and so it's almost irregular when we're not."
He also recognized that these technologies represented new fields of work that his parents could have only dreamed of at their age.
"It's interesting to think about how the things I take for granted are really novel and only came about in the past few years," he said. "Even cell phones. I expect that I can get a hold of someone whenever I want to."
The ceremony kicked off at about 6:30 p.m. with a processional performed by the school's combined bands and a rendition of the national anthem performed by the Mountain View High School Madrigals Chorus.
Despite the tough economic times, Mountain View High School Principle Keith Moody said the students "are very positive about their future" — and with good reason. About 98 percent of the students plan to attend college, 75 percent to four-year schools. Seven Spartans have been accepted to Stanford University, according to Moody and Barry Groves, superintendent of the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District.
Additionally, 33 National Merit Scholarships were awarded and Moody said that this has been the best year for athletics in Spartan history, with boys' soccer and girls' basketball both winning the DeAnza divisions, and the boys cross-country team taking the state championship.
McKee took time near the conclusion of his speech to offer his earnest opinion — one doubtlessly informed by the years he has spent on social networking sites: "My voice can be heard," he said. "I can really make a difference."