Reflection on Snowy Peaks High School commencement
May 29, 2017
Groups of creatures often receive fitting names — a murder of crows, a pride of lions. After participating in the Snowy Peaks High School graduation ceremony at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge this past Thursday, I'd like to propose a collective noun for a yeti, the school's mascot: a family.
Like a family, SPHS students and teachers encountered times of seamless cohesion and sibling-like squabbling, but they all persisted with love to reach their common goal.
Like proud parents, we teachers looked at our 18 graduates and recognized how much they had overcome to arrive at their diploma. Some experienced significant challenges on the path to the night's celebration: the death of a parent, struggles in traditional education, dropping out, undocumented immigrant status, medical issues, anxiety and depression and even homelessness. The commencement ceremony was not only a chance to honor their accomplishment of reaching the end of high school, but the acknowledgement of doing so in the face of so much adversity.
According to yeti tradition, all of the seniors spoke, reflecting on their experiences in education. In a symbolic gesture and with tearful embraces, each student then awarded a rose to the people who were most instrumental in helping them graduate. Students gave flowers to mothers, fathers, single parents, step-parents, siblings, teachers and counselors, thanking them for their support. Many said they never thought they would graduate high school. They proved that they could.
During an introduction of senior Jacob Lang, school math teacher Joseph Polise said, "I didn't know we were related. But every day Jacob would walk into my class and say, 'What's up, cuz?'"
We may not share blood, but the SPHS yetis are truly a family.