Eagle Volunteer Stadium at Templeton High School was the launching pad Tuesday night as 199 Eagles received their high school diplomas and were sent to fly out into the world ahead of them.
“To our classmates, I say go out and explore, take risks, be scared, live your lives,” said valedictorian Sarah Killingbeck. “The things that may scare us are exactly the ones that we most need to do. The world is open before us if we only care to look. No one controls your destiny. The future is five years from this moment, but is also next Saturday, tomorrow and 20 seconds from now.”
As the graduates entered the stadium and received their leis as “Pomp and Circumstance” played, tiki torches burned on either side of the stage and the palm fronds that made up the stage background and the shade umbrella rustled in the warm breeze.
Chris Caluya sang the National Anthem accompanied by the graduating seniors of the THS American Sign Language program, before salutatorian Emily Killingbeck, with a 4.40 grade point average, addressed the crowd.
Bryan Baldwin and Brenton Cordle performed their version of John Lennon’s hit, “Imagine,” before Sarah Killingbeck, Emily’s twin sister and the valedictorian with a 4.41 GPA, took to the podium.
“We are the products of everything that we have ever known, ever loved, ever believed and ever dreamed,” she told the crowd. “We are Templeton High School’s Class of 2008, and we belong to this school just as it belongs to us, because we have changed here, we have grown here and we leave here acknowledging that fact.”
A rendition of Five for Fighting’s hit, “100 Years,” by Hannah Chase, Anthony Higham, Blaire Hunt, Sam Rubin and Joe Zolnoski followed.
Principal Jim Fotinakes addressed the graduating seniors and all those in attendance, highlighting the role that teachers have had in shaping the lives of the 199 on the stage in green and white graduation robes.
“Teachers are the most fortunate of all that labor,” he said. “A doctor is allowed to usher life into the world in one magic moment. Teachers are allowed to see that life reborn each day with new questions, ideas and friendships. An architect knows that if be builds with care, his structure may stand for centuries. A teacher knows that if he builds with love and truth, what he builds will last forever.”
Hunt, the senior class president, then presented the senior gift to the school: $1,500 to go towards brass lettering for the Performing Arts Center.
A medley of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “What a Wonderful World” followed, with Jenifer Olivares on vocals and Sam Foshay on ukulele, before Fotinakes certified that the graduates had met the standards of the state of California and the Templeton Unified School District for graduation.
After the diplomas were handed out, a video presentation and fireworks show wrapped up the festivities.
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