Campbell High Graduates to Embark on Life’s Journey

June 16, 2017


by Laurie Jasper

Campbell High School Class of 2017 Commencement was held on Friday, June 9 at 6 p.m. in the school’s gymnasium.  Due to the possibility of late day storms, that morning it was decided to move graduation exercises indoors.  The 92 members of the Class of 2017, their families and friends adapted to the last-minute change with resiliency.  The storms did not materialize, but Cougar Pride was just as prevalent in the gymnasium as it would have been in the evening breeze.

The Campbell High School Band, led by retiring Band Director Philip Martin, played “Pomp and Circumstance” while the young men, in black caps and gowns, and young women, in red caps and gowns, processed in pairs to their seats through four white trellises that were each adorned with one of the four core values of Campbell High School:  character, courage, respect and responsibility.

Class Vice President Gabriele Hogan led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and classmate Abbey Sigman performed the national anthem.  Next, Class Secretary Cole Ryan asked each graduate to deliver a carnation (under each seat) to the person who has been the biggest influence to that student.  Following that emotional time, Carolyn Spaulding announced the dedication of the yearbook was to Band Director Martin, a crowning award for an outstanding member of the faculty whose retirement at the end of the school year caps 41 years in music education, 17 of those years at Campbell High School.

Martin thanked the Class of 2017 and encouraged them to live life and find something each is passionate about.  He concluded by saying, “What a journey it has been, and the end is not in sight.”

Class essayist Michael McSorley addressed the audience as a whole, but in particular his classmates, stating they are all more connected than any class could ever be, and aren’t just classmates but friends.

Student Council Co-Presidents Madilyn Fernandez and David Simoneau, who traveled the political ranks of student council together for all four years at Campbell, introduced guest speaker Michael Perez, assistant principal of Campbell High School.  Perez began his tenure at Campbell High in 2013, sharing the “freshman” experience with the Class of 2017.

In his address to the graduates, Perez reflected on Campbell’s four core values, just as he had done at their very first assembly in September 2013.  “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation,” said Perez.  Quoting Mark Twain, Perez said, “Courage is the resistance of fear, mastery of fear–not the absence of fear.”

He encouraged all that it’s okay to say, “I don’t know, let me get back to you.”  “Respect is a big word,” said Perez.  He explained it doesn’t mean a thing unless you show “it,” which he said is self respect.  Perez said accountability means taking responsibility for yourself and your actions.  “Take pride with the good and take ownership with the bad,” he said.  “This class is special to me and will have a special place in my heart.  In September 2013, we were all new to this building.  I would not be who I am without you,” said Perez.

Class Valedictorian Madison Taylor and Salutatorian Jessica Manning stood in tandem and urged their classmates to stay true to who they are, while reminiscing about their high school times.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the diplomas.  Each student’s name, any honors bestowed, and his or her future plans were read before proud family, friends and faculty.

Principal William Lonergan congratulated the graduates prior to handing out the diplomas, stating he was there to protect and serve, “… particularly from the lightning outside,” which was met with laughter and applause.  Members of the Class of 2017 will be attending colleges near and far, entering military service or joining the workforce.

After the last diploma was presented, Class President Louis Galvez Soza gave the word to his fellow classmates to move their tassels from the right hand side of their mortarboards to the left.  And with that, the new alumni and alumnae erupted in cheers among beach balls, confetti, streamers and even a blow-up shark.

On behalf of the Class of 2017, Soza thanked their faculty, parents and friends.  Soza concluded, “Remember, you leave Campbell, but the Class of 2017 will never leave you.”