High school for Bruno Gallegos Sanchez and the rest of the Class of 2022 was unexpected.

Addressing graduates Saturday, Gallegos Sanchez said students likely didn’t imagine that they would spend part of their high school career trying to figure out how to make a COVID-19 mask fashionable and navigating a network of online learning tools and virtual classrooms, while pretending not to be in pajamas.

“We weren’t expecting a junior year, where many of us obtained our (driver’s) licenses, only to stay home most of the time,” Gallegos Sanchez, an AP scholar recipient, told fellow Longmont High School graduates.

Deyvionah Andersen waves Saturday during a graduation ceremony at Longmont High School. (Kelsey Hammon)
Deyvionah Andersen waves Saturday during a graduation ceremony at Longmont High School. (Kelsey Hammon / Staff Writer)

Just moments before Gallegos Sanchez took the stage, graduates in blue robes streamed onto the football field to take their seats. Family and friends cheered their names. Some in the crowd of more than 300 waved cardboard cutouts of students’ faces, while others held silver “22” balloons.

Despite the unfamiliar obstacles, Gallegos Sanchez said: “Together we persevered against the odds.”

Erie High School graduate Lily Meskers speaks during commencement ceremonies in Erie on Saturday. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)
Erie High School graduate Lily Meskers speaks during commencement ceremonies in Erie on Saturday. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

That message was one that was shared across St. Vrain Valley School District graduations this week and Saturday. The district this year graduated roughly 2,250 seniors, with students also earning 21,000 hours in college credits, according to district spokesperson Kerri McDermid. In addition to Longmont, ceremonies on Saturday took place for Erie, Mead, Frederick, Lyons, Niwot, Silver Creek and Skyline high schools.

Connor McCormick, Longmont High School valedictorian, encouraged fellow students to think of the risk takers in history who made a difference.

“I’m going to ask you all, how are you going to overcome the fear of failure and take a risk going forward?” McCormick said. “Take risks, learn from your mistakes and don’t be afraid to change course.”

Mead High School valedictorian Greta Richardson looked out over the bleachers and football field Saturday and outlined the vast amount of “heavy news hanging over us” — including mass shootings, a politically divided country, the possibility of World War III and a climate crisis. Still, Richardson sees the Class of 2022 being part of a hopeful future.

“I’m certain that among us today sit future heroes, who will make great strides in improving our fight in all these conditions,” Richardson said.

“Let’s also remember the fun and joyful parts of life,” Richardson said. “Embrace those laughable moments when they come and don’t be in a hurry to shed that youthful silliness in the name of becoming an adult.”

A student hugs choir teacher Rikelle Berry Saturday during the Class of 2022's commencement at Mead High School. (Kelsey Hammon)
A student hugs choir teacher Rikelle Berry Saturday during the Class of 2022’s commencement at Mead High School. (Kelsey Hammon)

Mead staff speaker Rikelle Berry, a choir teacher, said she hoped to illuminate how exceptional the Class of 2022 is to her and to impart some “not so secret” advice that has helped her become a functional adult.

When it comes to finding a career path, Berry said students need to find something they will love doing.

“It might not seem like it at the moment, but money can’t buy you happiness,” Berry said.

Mimicking an inquiring student, she added: “‘But Miss Berry, money can buy me a jet ski and no one is mad on a jet ski.’ Fine. True. But, money can’t buy you real love, true friendship or bring you any real sort of happiness. Plus, how do you know if people are really there for you or your jet ski?”

No matter where life takes them, Berry said, they can count on always being part of the Mead High School family.

“Need advice? Need a friend? Need to bring me coffee?” Berry said. “Guess what, we will answer, listen and root for you always.”

The scoreboard is lit up with "2022" as Erie High School graduates parade into the stadium during commencement ceremonies in Erie on Saturday. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)
The scoreboard is lit up with “2022” as Erie High School graduates parade into the stadium during commencement ceremonies in Erie on Saturday. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

Class of 2022 valedictorians, salutatorians

  • Erie: Caleb Krause, valedictorian
  • Frederick: Nina Julia Palmer, valedictorian;  Ashley Kay Livingston, salutatorian
  • Lyons: Arjen Wynja, valedictorian; Maya Sol Rooney, Cody Saunders, salutatorians
  • Longmont: Connor McCormick, valedictorian; Ruby Scott, salutatorian
  • Mead: Greta Richardson, valedictorian; Ryan Henson, salutatorian
  • New Meridian: Ashley Newell, valedictorian; Jeanne Gochenour, salutatorian
  • Niwot: International Baccalaureate valedictorian: Val Raaghav Agarwal; traditional valedictorian: Isaac Robinson; IB salutatorian: Sal Tasman Moskowitz; traditional salutatorian: Mary Codevilla
  • Silver Creek: Savannah Alexis Rohrer, valedictorian; Gracie Yiwei Zhang, salutatorian
  • Skyline: Cameron Piggott, valedictorian; Carl Baca, salutatorian
  • St. Vrain Virtual: Kartik Narayan, valedictorian; Samuel Dorschel, salutatorian
  • LaunchED Virtual Academy: Jocelyn Hope Zavala, valedictorian

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Kelsey Hammon
2022-05-29 01:25:28
Boulder Daily Camera
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