The annual graduation ceremony at Sunnyside High School is likely our largest community gathering.
It is estimated that we had around 5,000 people attend this year’s graduation of over 400 seniors.
I would like to share some observations from this year’s ceremony.
First, immigrants are a blessing to our community. One of the interesting things to observe is that when newcomers come to our country, they adopt some of our culture while retaining some of their own. This has probably been true for as long as we have been a country.
A great example of this was our own high school mariachi band playing a beautiful rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the beginning of the graduation ceremony.
Second, families are so important. Both of our co-valedictorians this year gave moving speeches in which they expressed sincere gratitude for the hard work and sacrifices of their families.
One thanked her family through tears when she mentioned that her mom wasn’t able to see her grandma before she passed away recently. She expressed hope that her grandma was able to see her graduation from above, and when I gave this student her diploma, I assured her that her grandma was there.
Strong families are the best and most important support for our students.
Third, the other co-valedictorian showed the importance of good teachers who believe in their students.
One day in history class, her class was learning about the 36th president of the United States, Lyndon Johnson, who stood 6’4” tall, and was known to sometimes use his size to intimidate and motivate others.
This student remarked, “I wish I was 6’4” so I could do that,” to which her teacher replied, “You don’t need to be 6’4”, you’re Briteny!”
This comment from an encouraging teacher helped this student change the way she viewed herself.
Congratulations to the class of 2019.
Thank you to the community of Sunnyside for supporting our students and graduates. Thank you to our educators who instruct, encourage and motivate their students on a regular basis. Also, thanks to all of our district employees who have played a part in keeping our students safe, health, cared for and supported during this past school year.
Have a good summer, and we will see you in August!
Sandra Linde is President of the Sunnyside School Board of Directors