The words came from Amy Marable, the interim principal at Sparks High School.
They could have also applied to graduates of Reed and Spanish Springs High Schools in ceremonies over the weekend.
“You are a class that can,’’ Marable said.
The venue for all three graduations was the Lawlor Events Center, though each school put its distinctive touches on ceremonies. When it was all over, some 1,165 newly minted graduates from the three schools were ready and eager to face the future.
The arena was filled for each graduation, with families cheering on their graduate. Proud relatives, friends and teary eyed parents gathered to watch students receive their treasured diplomas and head off into the world.
Some will go straight to work, others to the military. Many will go on to college to pursue yet another diploma in higher education.
However, much like a wedding, the guest list didn’t matter, the whole day revolved around one person, the graduate. Amongst the thousands at each event, every graduate was the star as they listened to, or gave a speech, stood for pictures with their families, accepted well wishes from other graduates, and made plans for what to do with the rest of their day.
Graduates by the numbers
— 1,165 total graduates
— $8,178,000 awarded in scholarships
— 3 teachers with over 70 years experience (retiring)
Listening to positive speeches about how grateful kids are of their parents, their excitement about the future, and their certainty of lifelong friendships is always uplifting, especially those delivered with just the right amount of comedy. One of Reed High School’s Valedictorians, Pablo Izquierdo, opined in his commencement speech, “This was nothing like High School Musical.”
Another Reed speaker listed a few firsts for the graduating class of 2016, their freshmen class was the first to have uniforms, they were the first class required to stay on campus during lunch, and they were also the last class required to stay on campus during lunch.
As Reed Principal Josh Rosenbloom presented his class to the Board of Trustees to receive their diplomas, he listed some very impressive data regarding his students, two appointments to the US Military, 544 volunteer hours at the Nevada Food Bank, 169 students with a 3.5 GPA or higher, and so much more.
Sparks Interim Principal Marable addressed the Class of 2016, telling them how much she enjoyed her role, giving examples in terms of their “The Wonderful World of Disney” theme, her voice reminiscent of one of the princesses at Disneyland. She went through a varied list of life paths Sparks High School students might choose, “Many of you will be going off to serve in a branch of the military,” she said, and with that, the entire arena roared with pride.
When asked if there was something he could say to his students he was unable to say during the commencement ceremony, Sparks Principal Kevin Carroll offered, “I would tell them to continue to be lifelong learners and encourage them to continue their education. They have been an amazing group of students that I will miss tremendously.”
Gabrielle Lew, Senior Class President, of Spanish Springs High School spoke about being more like the elected class mom than the President, “We are no longer seniors,” she proclaimed. Keynote Speakers, and sisters, teachers Amber Calonico and Shannah Kassebaum, quipped about a fictitious trip through life, they spun a tale urging the graduates to think about all of the tools in their boxes, whether or not they had too much baggage, to pick their travel partners wisely, and to enjoy the ride.
Keeping with their Class Motto, “Once you become fearless, life becomes limitless,” Principal Tammy Hart inspired her graduates by challenging them to believe.
One of the speakers at Reed quoted famous philosopher, Seneca, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
Even though Gabrielle Lew, Spanish Spring’s Class President, claimed she did not want to sound cliche, her “The tassel is worth the hassle” got some laughs from everyone.
Congratulations Class of 2016!