■ Kyle selby / Reporter
Last Friday, West Valley High School’s 25th commencement ceremony ushered 349 graduating seniors onto the school’s football field, Mustang Canyon, as a final sendoff before the students advance to the next stages of their lives, post high school.
Victoria Roach opened with a tasteful rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” followed by several introductory speeches by her instructors and colleagues.
“You are a special class for me,” Dr. Janice Jones, principal of West Valley High School said as she addressed the graduating class of 2017. “You have been such an important part of my first year as principal, and taught me about motivation, perseverance, endurance and leadership. I was reminded that in excellence, there is pride, in teamwork, there is victory, and in challenge, there is growth.”
HUSD Assistant Superintendent Vince Christakos addressed and thanked the families and parents in the bleachers, while student ASB President Joelle Hameister used the platform to poke fun at her classmates. Senior Class Speaker Cooper Smith spoke of his personal heroes.
“Even though we are moving on from West Valley – once a Mustang, always a Mustang,” said Salutatorian Kristina Usenko. “No matter where we go, the pride and the memories we have built here will remain in us for years to come.”
“The most important memories we will take from our time here are not related to the classroom,” began Valedictorian Isabel Michel. “The most important thing we will take from here, are the new friendships, families, and relationships we’ve formed here.” Michel thanked her teachers and her peers for creating an enjoyable high school experience.
“Never forget that West Valley has been, and always will be your home,” she continued. “I want to thank you, class of 2017. I have been amazed by your determination and resilience. As much as it may break my heart to part ways with you, I am consoled knowing that we are destined for success. When we leave here, we will each be on our own special path to reach our dreams. Wherever you go, remember to keep your spirits up, and to never look down. As long as you work hard enough, and long enough, you will take yourself places you could never have imagined. Best wishes to each of you on your next life adventures.”
After each student received their diploma on stage, and made their way down the aisle, the night sky above Mustang Canyon crackled with flashes of bright luminescence, as West Valley’s traditional graduation fireworks concluded the commencement ceremony.
Congratulations Class of 2017 and good luck!