The welcome address was delivered in three different languages — English, Spanish and Tagalog, with Associated Student Body President Danielle Cox giving the English version at Golden Valley High School’s commencement ceremony Thursday.
“These students have accomplished so much in their education and have now reached one of the biggest early milestones of their lives, high school graduation. This graduation is a celebration of our commitment to scholarship, self improvement and hard work,” said Cox. “The glimmer in their eyes full of hope and Curiosity will be the paths that lead them to their dreams. Those dreams will turn into goals and those goals into accomplishments. This graduating class has been tested time and time again. But, they have always persevered.”
More than 450 graduates were celebrated during the ceremony at College of the Canyons’ Cougar Stadium, which was nearly filled to capacity with friends and families of the graduates, putting the attendance figure in the ballpark of 7,500.
The ceremony began, of course, with “Pomp and Circumstance” performed by the school’s concert band, which transitioned into the presentation of colors by the Air Force JROTC.
The ceremony then featured two student speakers to reflect on their experiences while at Golden Valley. Both Kaitlyn Phung and Juliette Alonzo passed an audition to be able to share what they had to say.
“Although we have different dreams, choices, and future aspirations, remember that you were a graduate of Golden Valley High School, be proud,” said Phung. “Whether you are going to community college, a four-year university or even no college, I want to remind you all that no matter what, you will end up in the right place.”
Alonzo referenced the endurance the class had for making it through a pandemic school year.
“It felt like it was a never ending cycle. But we made it out and got to experience two years of high school, actually on campus. Not even a pandemic could conquer our class of 2023,” said Alonzo.
Sal Frias, principal of Golden Valley, also lauded the class for enduring the pandemic and for the students’ ability to reconstruct campus culture after it was nonexistent, then nearly nonexistent, for two years.
“The senior class again just came to school and took care of business. And they did so in spectacular fashion and united. The class represents one of the most cohesive, loyal and enjoyable classes we’ve had here at (Golden Valley),” said Frias. “Our school motto, ‘Diversity is our strength, community is our goal’ shines through this class and being together means much more today than it did a few years ago.”
The class of 2023 was then congratulated by Mike Kuhlman, superintendent of the William S. Hart Union School District.
Music for the ceremony was provided by Gillianne Arcasetas, Samantha Sandoval, Julia Readmond, Erin escobar, Andrew Osmond, Kat Cunado, Parris Carter, Michelle Pierce, Maria Castro, the Golden Valley Vocal Arts Seniors and the Golden Valley Concert Band.