As is custom, students were celebrated for their high achievement in advanced placement (AP) and honors classes, for National Merit Scholarship achievement and for their dedication to campus community through sports and performing arts.
Student speeches struck a different tone, reflecting not on what can be done in the classroom or on a test, but how one exists in the world and what kind of person they are.
Student speaker Mia Lawrence implored students to stand up for what they believe in, even if it means standing alone. She asked students to think about their future adult selves, and who they wanted those people to be. She challenged parents and faculty to reflect on their own actions, and to think about when in their lives they were silent. "Asking others to stand is activism," she said, "standing alone because you care is humanity."
Student speaker Ria Saxena offered a different yet complementary idea: that we don't know as much as we think we do. In fact, she says, we know nothing. "Nothing," is Saxena's way of saying that each idea learned in high school unearthed even more questions. Go out into the world curious and humble, she advised her classmates.
Principal Dave Grissom asked students to remain present in their lives, and student speakers Brianna Lee and Parmida Pajouhesh demonstrated what it looks like to "swim" through adversity in their speech "Just Keep Swimming."
Graduating senior Katrina Alejandra McDermith, who will attend California State University Long Beach in the fall as a biology major, said that her AP Literature discussions about books like "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Song of Solomon" will stay with her when she leaves high school. "Those books have always been so deep and really influential to the entire community," McDermith said.
Aria Mendhekar, who will attend Connecticut College in the fall, said that it was the community fostered through Dance Spectrum that she will miss. Graduating high school means leaving behind those close relationship.
After moving their tassels from right to left, the graduates descended the bleachers and gathered under the north goalpost on the football field. They tossed their caps into the air and readied themselves for their next adventures.
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