Spirits were soaring Saturday — and not just because of the wind — as high school diplomas were awarded to 142 graduates of Delta High School.
Graduates, their friends and family members were welcomed by DHS principal Kurt Clay, who said he has been with the Class of 2012 seven years as a principal, beginning with their sixth grade year at Delta Middle School.
Salutatorian Taylor Zunich reflected on the feeling of triumph and accomplishment she felt as a member of the basketball team that made the "Sweet 16" for the first time in Delta High School history. She then issued a challenge to reinforce the building blocks of our nation — family, friends, faith and community — which are beginning to crack.
Graduate Conor Laws introduced the guest speaker, saying teachers have been some of the students' greatest supporters. One who has had unquestioning faith in each and every graduate is Daniel Renfrow, an English teacher at Delta High School.
Renfrow asked the students to consider the past, present and future as he drove home the message, "You are special, valuable people, and I want to help you discover your true worth."
True worth can not be measured by numbers, like grade point averages or salaries. Instead, it's conveyed through hugs, kind words and other acts of caring.
"Take your enormous worth and reinvest it in the world around you," he urged. "Go be great."
Co-valedictorians Courtney Anderson and Brendan Kortz structured their message around Mount Everest, the Louvre Museum in Paris, the pyramids in Egypt and ancient Greece. Like climbing Mount Everest, the graduates will have to make sacrifices if they want to achieve their dreams. At the Louvre, people can pause and appreciate the work of great artists, just as we sometimes need to step back and recognize all we've accomplished. The pyramids epitomize how we can succeed if we meet our challenges step by step and learn to call on others for help, Kortz explained. Finally, the ancient Greeks honored and loved their gods just as we should recognize and appreciate the beloved people in our lives who have supported us, Anderson said.
As Rosie Johnson, a DHS teacher, read the class roll, counselors Shawna Magtutu and Holly Teyler-Crowder listed each graduate's scholarships, awards and plans for the future. Rachel Tallent is attending Valparaiso University in Indiana, "to pursue a career in changing the world." Taylor Zunich plans to become a lawyer. Other graduates are pursuing careers in health care, education, auto mechanics and wildlife management. A barber, gunsmith, master electrician, police officer, journalist and engineer-to-be are eager to embark on the next chapter of their lives.
Seventy-three graduates are bound for a four-year college; 29 plan to attend a two-year college or vocational school. Twenty-two young men and women are entering the workforce, while 15 have joined the military.
Diplomas were presented by school board members Cheryl Hines and Kathy Svenson.
Kurt Clay recognized another "graduate" — assistant principal Bruce Keith, who is retiring after 40 years in education.
In keeping with tradition, tassels were turned from right to left, to symbolizes the transition from student to graduate. As the DHS band played the recessional, the graduates left their seats and formed a line the length of the football field. Then white and green mortarboards filled the air, as the graduates celebrated the beginning of the next chapter of their lives.blog comments powered by Disqus