Golden Valley celebrates the class of 2022
The voices of Golden Valley High School seniors rang loud in English, Spanish and Tagalog as messages of gratitude and love were shared for families, friends and others, who played a pivotal role in these students’ journeys to graduation.
On Wednesday evening, right before the ceremony began, Superintendent Mike Kuhlman of the William S. Hart Union High School District took a moment of silence for the lives lost in the shooting Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
After a somber moment, ASB president Gabriela Motta opened up the ceremony.
“Welcome students, parents, relatives, friends, and everyone else present who supported our students throughout each step,” Motta said. “These students have accomplished so much throughout their education and now have reached one the biggest early milestones of their lives, high school graduation.”
Motta continued that graduation is a celebration of them and their commitment to scholarship, self-improvement and hard work.
“This graduating class has been tested time and time again,” Motta said. “But we have always persevered. Tonight’s ceremony acts as a bridge between the end of one chapter and the beginning of a beautiful story that will create the future lies ahead.”
Senior speakers Jacob Andrews and Katie Shin then took the stage to address their fellow graduating seniors. Andrews gave his speech, “Torches,” which was selected out of many other submissions by Golden Valley faculty and administration.
“Knowledge is the eternal flame of humanity. One that starts with a spark from my parents onto a torch and adding a small flame,” Andrews said.
Andrews went on to describe how each flame grows brighter and bigger or maybe smaller and quieter as life continues. However, each student’s torches found themselves at Golden Valley High School and through their experiences at school have become individuals ready to share and change the world with their “torches.”
“We sit here surrounded by far more torches than we first saw as children…We ready ourselves once more to take the next step,” Andrews said. “Now after 13 years of working, waiting and dreaming, we sit a bonfire of minds, ready to change the world.”
Shin, the class of 2022 valedictorian, presented her speech, “A Canvas to be Painted.”
“…I would like for you all to imagine you are a canvas. Every day of your life spent in high school and memories act as colors,” Shin said. “These have all painted who you are in a multitude of ways.”
“You are a priceless artwork in the museum of life, and there is nothing else like you. That is the best part. Our graduation is only the start of unimaginably bright, colorful experiences. The world is yours to paint on, so get crazy with creativity.”
The class of 2022 erupted in applause for both Andrews’ and Shin’s speeches. Graduates Chloe Brown, Cassidy Calara, Vivian Garces and Emily Nieves came next with their rendition of “The Climb,” by Miley Cyrus.
Parents, family members, friends and more were whooping and hollering in excitement for their graduates. The time was almost upon them when they would see their graduate receive their high school diplomas.
“I’m very excited to see what he’s going to do next,” said Connie Ruiz, grandmother of graduate Adam Ruiz.
Before diplomas were given out, Sal Frias, principal of Golden Valley, addressed the crowd. He began with asking for a moment of silence for student Valerie Reyes Rodriguez, who died, according to Frias.
“As a member of us, Valerie Reyes Rodriguez is not here tonight among the graduating class,” Frias said. “She was taken from us during her young life last year, and we miss her.”
Frias acknowledged the graduating class of 2022 has experienced a series of tribulations from COVID-19, transitioning from online learning back to in-person and managing COVID-19 protocols, among other challenges.
But at the same time, Golden Valley achieved greatness in academia, sports and arts.
“I’m extremely proud of you. It is an absolute honor and privilege to serve as your principal. Superintendent Mike Kuhlman, on behalf of the Golden Valley staff, we present to you the Golden Valley High School graduating class of 2022.”