By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
Rim of the World High School’s 66th commencement ceremony on June 8 made memories as the 208 graduates were able to gather for an outdoor graduation ceremony on the football field with the bleachers filled with family and friends cheering them on; it was live streamed for those who could not attend.
The weather was warm and sunny as the procession of students entered the field area wearing white or dark blue graduation gowns over their clothes, ranging from shorts to beautiful long dresses and suits and ties, all wearing the traditional square mortarboards; many were decorated with glitter and photographs. Many wore flower leis over their gowns and dozens of the students were decorated with extra award sashes for AVID, National Honor Society, bi-literacy and other honors.
Superintendent of County Schools Ted Alejandre welcomed all. “Rim is among the best in the county as students start on the road to their future after graduation. I am happy for the students to be able to start on their careers and chase their aspirations. I am honored to be here as a small part of it. In the county, 87 percent of students graduate from their high schools, but here at Rim 97 percent of the students are graduating this 2022 school year. I commend Rim students and look forward to their life successes after graduation. Students, your success and accomplishments are to be commended.”
Rim High School Principal Torri Burke welcomed all and acknowledged it had been a while since a formal graduation ceremony has occurred.
Salutatorian Zackary Lawrence spoke about the 344 students who didn’t get to graduate this year due to school violence and offered a moment of silence. He spoke on those who lost their way along the way but celebrated the 208 Rim graduates who have found the path to success.
“With support, we made it,” Zackary said. “The persistence of this class to get to this point proves we have the ability to chase the world and succeed.” He recognized all who came here to celebrate this occasion with them: parents, teachers, the administration and thanked the choir and band for their excellent performances. He recognized Jim Olsen as Teacher of the Year and Michelle Murphy, the retiring superintendent, who fought for them to make it all happen through these four years.
Valedictorian Jameson Crate encouraged the graduates to excel in life, stating, “It is our obligation to now take advantage of the opportunities presented to us as we enter this world.”
The Rim choir had several graduates join them to sing “Amazing,” the 2019 song by Pink Zebra. Its encouraging lyrics include: I’m living right here and now/And I don’t wanna miss out/Is this what life’s all about?/The world is calling and I’m listening/Yeah, I’m listening. And isn’t it amazing? Oh, Life can be amazing/And then we’ll see what happens now.
The stadium was then filled with the singing of Rim’s alma mater by the entire audience, along with the choir: High in the mountains/Hear the pine sing above us/Clear the skies smile upon us/ Always deep azure blue/ Clouds wreathe around enshrining/ Rim High, serenely shining/ our alma mater.
Then came the highlight of the afternoon – the reading of each student’s name and the presentation of the diplomas. The students walked up onto the stage individually after their name was read, walking across the stage to be greeted and congratulated and handed their diploma and have their photo taken. Many high fives were seen. Many were then individually encouraged on their path to the college of their choice or other career choice as they returned to their seats by Principal Torri Burke, showing a real personal connection between the students and administrators at Rim.
Several individuals did a little dance as they entered the stage to shake hands and a couple did handstand somersaults after leaving the stage. The audience enjoyed it all with the yelling of students’ names and several air horns were sounded as the students received their diplomas, plus several confetti and glitter party favors were popped to celebrate the occasion. It was a joyous occasion for all.
After the turning of the tassels and the throwing of their mortarboards into the air, the recessional music led the students off the field to join their proud families who took photos of the excited graduates under the football posts and in front of the murals.