A new class of Tigers has been unleashed.
At the Summit High School gymnasium, 164 students in black and green gowns graduated Saturday, May 22.
Principal Drew Adkins opened the ceremony.
Though these students might be defined by hashtags and Snapchat, he said, they should be proud of knowing “how to embrace the now.” After 16,000 hours in school, graduates should “make that ‘now’ the primary focus of your life.” Then, in true class of 2014 fashion, he said, “we’re going to take a selfie.”
He ran up to the students on stage and snapped a photo of himself.
Adkins then encouraged students by reminding them “with lungs acclimated to Summit’s peaks,” they have an amazing capacity to take their dreams to the highest levels.
Next, Superintendent Heidi Pace shared advice offered by kindergartners for the new graduates heading off on their own, including “be sure to take your favorite toys with you.”
Salutatorian Nick Cousino followed. He recognized the class’s accomplishments and how students had bonded like a family with all its quirks, including “wacky uncle” Danny Proctor.
Then valedictorian Duncan Biggin donned a military helmet and approached the podium. A friend introduced him with a trombone melody before Biggin assumed the persona of Gen. George S. Patton. Biggin quoted Patton’s famous speech to troops before the Normandy landings in World War II.
After four years of confronting tests and completing homework assignments, he said, his classmates had become brothers and sisters and he would be proud to fight alongside any of them in any battle, anytime, anywhere.
As he returned to his seat, fellow students sang “The Imperial March” theme from Star Wars.
The commencement speech was given by Dan Marion, a 2008 graduate of Summit High, who spoke about the difference between being cool and being legendary.
“Cool people do amazing things. Legendary people do amazing things for the well-being of others,” he said, emphasizing which one the graduates should focus on for the rest of their lives.
In the future, your resumes and stock portfolios won’t matter, he told the graduates. “Who you are and how you make people feel is what makes you memorable.”
Students wearing dress shoes, cowboy boots, sandals and sneakers walked across the stage and received their diplomas as school staff members announced their future plans. They will head to college, start jobs, travel the world. A couple will pursue athletic careers in skiing.
After turning their tassels and tossing their caps, the graduates walked out — some arm in arm, some dancing — to the school band’s performance of the Katy Perry song “Roar,” with lyrics fitting for the Tigers.
Outside the gym, Ousmane Mamadou Ba, 19, of Silverthorne, took photos with friends and family.
“Knowledge is power. Education is power,” he said. Ba, who moved to Summit County from the African country of Senegal about a year and a half ago, said he plans to study aviation and political science with hopes of becoming a pilot and working in government.
But first he will celebrate with family at home and Skype his mother in Senegal.
“I’m very happy today,” he said. “My dreams are coming true.”