By Raiza Giorgi and Kyah Corff

Photos by Daniel Dreifuss

Every high schooler waits for that one special day where they get to throw their coveted graduation caps high into the air and celebrate the end of their high school career. The feeling of accomplishing their childhood and the realization that life is about to take them on a new adventure.

For senior Angel Valdez Ordonez, he wasn’t sure if he would make it to graduation as his father passed away from an illness just before school started last fall.

“I was devastated and not sure how I would make it since my dad was my rock. I was grateful that I had music to fall back on to help me through my grieving process,” Angel said several weeks before graduation.

Angel was applauded as he made his commencement speech and looks forward to joining his older brother at Cal Berkley next fall with a full scholarship and hopes to study immigration law.

“My brother and I are really close and I am glad to be near him. I have been visiting since he started school and I feel like it’s home already. I am excited to see what living in a bigger city will be like,” he laughed.

“I’m very excited to finally complete my high school career but I am also sad to go because of the great relationships I made,” stated graduate Olivia Horvath.

Principal Mark Swanitz opened the graduation ceremony. He explained that despite a world of clashing ideologies and a divisive political backdrop, the Class of 2018 stood united and capable of securing their futures. In a world in turmoil, being successful no longer depended on the knowledge you gained in classrooms but depended on curiosity, collaboration, and a unquenchable thirst for knowledge advised Swanitz.

Commencement speakers- Hannah Ezell, Angel Valdez Ordonez, and Clay Hutchinson- represented their graduating class. Their speeches acknowledged the fear of leaving the nest for a life of uncertainty but explained the importance of overcoming challenges in order to attain success.

“Become today, the person you wish to be tomorrow,” concluded Clay Hutchinson, Senior Class President, in his inspirational commencement speech.

The graduating Class of 2018 was full of hard workers and passionate leaders with 55 seniors graduating with GPAs of 4.0 and over. The graduation was shorter than last year’s despite being a larger class. As decorated caps flew through the air, the graduates drew a breath and smiled upon an uncertain future while Daryl Hall & John Oates’ song “You Make My Dreams Come True” blared on the speakers.