The 2K16 Graduation experience

By Karina Garcia (Co-Editor in Chief) 8/20/16

Seniors celebrating receiving their diploma.
Seniors celebrating receiving their diploma.

It was a time for reflection because graduation day for The Titans finally arrived on Thursday, June 9th. The evening started off with all the seniors meeting in the big gym with their corresponding advisories where they took pictures with their friends before the big ceremony. The upperclassmen were welcomed when they walked down the field while the Kennedy concert band played “El Capitan” by John Philip Sousa. There was a stage with a big screen in the middle explaining why Aaron Lemos’s film students had their cameras out; so everyone on the bleachers could see the graduates from afar. On the stage were some of the faculty, the valedictorian, the salutatorian, and the summa cum laude.
Senior Class Sponsor Leslie Garcia opened the ceremony and NJROTC Color Guard gave the presentation of colors while senior class president Liana Mioni gave the flag salute and greeting. To show how multicultural this year’s class was, greetings were said in different languages including Spanish, Mandarin, and Tagalog. Valerie Banoan then took the stage to sing the Star Spangled Banner and the big audience responded well after she finished.
Principal Richard J. Chavez gave his address to the class of 2016 and the traditional K-House chant was done with yellow and white party streamers thrown up at the end of the speech. Valedictorian Ashkan Ghassani then gave his words to the class. “For the past four years there have always been people willing to help you, but you were the one who accepted that help…You can’t go out and make a difference and help those dearest to you don’t first take care of yourself. Your friends, your family, and your loved ones need you to be a source of inspiration, strength, and hope and the best way to be that source is to reach your own unique potential in life.” Ghassani graduated with a 4.185 GPA.
Saul Ruvalcaba, salutatorian, then gave his speech and kept with the theme, My Brother’s Keeper, when he said that students should be strong for themselves but stronger for one another. A tribute was then given to Dominic Decipeda who passed away last year. Faculty and graduates wanted to make him a part of the ceremony as representatives gave flower dedications and let his parents go up the stage to accept the gesture. There was also a moment of silence and a chair in the front for Decipeda.
The ceremony then continued with “The Dauntless Battalion” by John Philip Sousa performed by the Kennedy Concert Band. Maranda Bernal and Larissa Ramirez were chosen to be theme speakers this year.
Ramirez’s speech was a reflection of events that she enjoyed with friends the past four years of high school and ended by noting the importance of helping others out throughout the journey of adulthood. On the other hand, Bernal highlighted the importance of networking to thrive in life and had a more serious, straightforward tone.
Roberta Mailman gave the presentation of Honors, High Honors, and Bi-literacy Awards. The Presentation of school service recipients was given by Brunel Merilus. Robert Clarke delivered the Excellent Attendance Awards.
The announcement of graduates finally began when Garcia held the presentation of the class of 2016. Advisory teachers called each of their students up to the stage and they took pictures while accepting their instructions to receive their diplomas at school the next day. Principal Richard Chavez finalized the process when he accepted the class, accepted diplomas, and did organized the turning of tassels. Moini closed the ceremony when passing on a gavel to the new senior council president Kevin Pham. Its representation was a token of appreciation and a wish of good luck to the class of 2017. After it was done Pham said he thinks it will be “a tough and life changing year. I just hope to make the best out of it and that the class of 2017 brings back old traditions and gets more involved with the community.”
There were fireworks during the recessional right outside of school that were not part of the plan and were most likely illegal, but the students were in awe with it. The senior class song, “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay, was also playing .
The night then ended as well as their high school journey, but who knows where life would take these students if they followed the theme of “my brother’s keeper.” The class motto was “we have come a long way, but not half as far as we will go.”