And yet at a time when anxiousness and uncertainty are high and the never-ending information available in the palm of their hands can be daunting, Satterwhite praised this year's seniors for showing the hope and conviction needed to be future world leaders.
After the Parkland shooting in Florida, they marched out of class, Satterwhite said, with a clear message that gun violence at schools must stop. They rallied in the defense of young immigrants protected by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and marched, more than once, in support of the Green New Deal.
"In short, this group of students is addressing issues that they did not create, but that they will creatively solve," Satterwhite said.
Bravery in the face of change was the theme of the June 7 graduation, which was packed with friends and families carrying balloons on the warm afternoon on Tom Burt field.
On a more personal level, students leaving Los Altos High School are each going to have to experience their own personal life-changing moment, heading off to college, leaving home and embarking on a new chapter of their lives, said Braden Koch, one of the student speakers at the graduation.
Koch said each one of the seniors on the school's field Friday afternoon is like a book in a collective library, not quite on the best sellers list yet, but with some pretty good early reviews. Quoting Jack Kerouac, Koch encouraged his cohorts to draft their own futures, make their own mistakes and take responsibility for their lives.
"I ask my fellow classmates to be brave enough to make mistakes — to hold the pen yourself. It's up to you," he said.
The goal of his speech, Koch told the Voice before the ceremony, was to encourage students to forge their own paths knowing that the sturdy foundational years of their lives at Los Altos High will carry them through times of change.
"My call to action at the end of it is just pressing forward to all my peers that it's okay to feel uncomfortable in this situation of immense change but be comforted in knowing you are prepared for whatever future holds for you," he said.
Student speaker Elise Nguyen said she remembers her first freshman days being intimidated and feeling small — quite literally, since she measured in at 5 feet tall. But it become clear from the first day that the class of 2019 was clueless together, and slowly pieced together how to navigate the new world of high school. Through difficult times and fantastic memories, she said she and her fellow students learned one life lesson after another.
Now prepared to be intimidated again in college, and a just bit taller, Nguyen urged students as they leave Los Altos not to forget what they've done during their time in high school.
"I don't want us to be so caught up in the excitement of starting a new season in our life that we forget where we came from," she said. "Don't forget to give yourself credit for everything that you've achieved. This was our time at Los Altos High School."
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