There was perceptible excitement and jitters amongst the crowd Saturday as the 34 graduates of Raymond High School took their place atop the worn stage. They were surrounded by beautiful flowers and tasteful decorations a subtle homage to the hardworking volunteers who transformed the venue from a high school gym into a memorable ceremony.
The graduating class began with the traditional march through the arch, arm in arm with a fellow classmate, to Pomp and Circumstance as played by the Raymond High School Band. They moved into white and red trimmed seats adorning the stage. The ceremony was kicked off with faculty-elected speaker, Alexis Hood. Her speech thanked her class for all the things they taught her over the years.
She said, “This year I stepped… no I exploded out of my comfort zone… I feel as though this is the very definition of the Class of 2013. My class taught me to never miss an opportunity. They taught me to see any and every possibility around me.”
Class representative Jack Bridgewater followed Hood’s speech. Jack brought a personal touch of comedy in his comparison of the class to a “dysfunctional family”. He spoke of the good times, the bad times, and in his own words, the “OMG, my legs hurt so bad from (insert any sport here) days.” Bridgewater’s speech had the crowd completely enticed and doubled-over in laughter. This was a much needed mood enhancer for the misty-eyed audience members.
Valedictorian Kira Dunsmoor reminded her class of the importance of the friendships created throughout their high school years. Her speech was heartfelt and at this time, more than a few audience members began to cry.
“Now, we do not measure our time here in class periods, days, or semesters, but in the friendships we’ve created,” said a teary-eyed Dunsmoor.
Finally, Salutatorian Josh Camenzind spoke of the futures his class now looks forward too. He gave wise words on being the leaders of their own lives.
Josh said, “If high school is a path, then we’ve walked this far together. Now, we are at a fork in the road where each of us must choose our own path… Don’t let anyone else decide your path for you!”
Next up was the presentation of scholarships including the World Class Scholars Scholarship, the Gertrude Neilson Scholarship, and the College Bound Scholars Scholarship. Many students left the ceremony with upwards of a few thousand dollars. There seemed to be a widespread sigh of relief amongst the parents present.
Principal Dave Vetter and Superintended Dr. Stephen Holland had the honors of presenting the graduates with their diplomas. The family and friends of each student shared an expression of immense pride.
Finally, the Class of 2013 walked off the stage and into the eager arms of many family and friends. Over the sound system, Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore was playing, a song very fitting not only for graduating students everywhere but more specifically for the ambitious and strong-willed class of 2013.