Bord of Education president Delia Bonenberger presents Class of 2014 students with their
diplomas at Saturday’s S-GI graduation.
SPRINGVILLE—One hundred and seventy-two prospective doctors, lawyers, artists, soldiers and a variety of other professionals entered the “real world” Saturday after they graduated from Springville-Griffith Institute.
The 184th annual commencement saw a cast of colorful characters from superintendent Dr. Paul Connelly right down to valedictorian Caroline Francisco.
Connelly started off the ceremony by reminding his students that some of the most important life lessons they learned while in S-GI came in September of 2001 when they started kindergarten. He quoted Robert Fulghum’s book “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” by letting the graduates know that it’s OK to have cookies and milk everyday and that naps are not just for preschoolers.
He encouraged the class to chase their dreams, despite what they feel inside.
“Don’t be afraid,” Connelly said. “If there is something you want to do, go out and do it.”
And left them with one important piece of information, again lifted from Fulghum’s book: “It’s still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world hold hands and stick together.”
Salutatorian Chloe Nowak relived the past 18 years of her classmates lives, citing that in their time together they’ve only discovered a small sliver of the world that lays ahead of them.
“There is no need to figure out what you want to do right now,” she said.
When valedictorian Caroline Francisco took the mic she began her speech by letting her classmates know that if she had to decide it right now, her key to living a happy life would be eating more tacos and that at just 17-years-old she does not know what the meaning of life is.
What she does know, however, is how to make an auditorium full of parents laugh and applaud. Francisco briefly left the stage, returned with a ukulele and broke out into her original song “Hey, Thanks.”
“Mr. Jarnish the benevolent, you’ve come up with more inappropriate math jokes than we ever could have dreamt,” Francisco sang. She also called out a few other teachers for the memories and lessons they left on each students, as well as their parents for putting up with them and getting them to graduation.
“We’re happy to say that S-GI has made us who we are today, so hey thanks,” she finished.
Awards followed with students receiving scholarships for everything from art to Americanism and conservation to community volunteering.
“You’ve been an inspiration to me,” Principal Vince Vanderlip said. “You helped me redraw the map of what students can do.”
Zachary Kontos received his diploma via video conference because he was in Kansas City competing in the national championships for SkillsUSA, representing S-GI by going above and beyond, according to Vanderlip.
Before turning their tassels, the graduates were left with one more piece of advice: “We’ve been asking you for 13 years to walk in a straight line and now we’re sending you off in any direction you chose,” Vanderlip said. “This is only the first volume of your story, the rest is yours to write.”