Last Saturday, friends and family gathered in the Unalaska City School large gym waiting with anticipation for the Senior Class to begin their ceremonial walk down the aisle for UCSD's Graduation.
Teacher Casey Clausius sent the seniors in two by two as the band played a rousing version of “Pomp and Circumstance” led by band director Shannon Spring. From the top of the bleachers, the audience could tell that this year’s graduating class excelled in both mortarboard decoration and in creating signature handshakes as they greeted their walking mate.
The class of 2019 took their seats under bright pillars of gold and blue balloons as the ceremony began with a word from Superintendent John Conwell. After greeting the audience and congratulating the seniors, Conwell asked attendees to pause for a moment of silence to honor Karly McDonald and Kiara Renteria Haist, two UCSD students who were killed in a car crash on Ballyhoo Mountain earlier this month.
Valedictorian Trevor Wilson took the stage and gave a short speech focusing on his gratitude toward the community of Unalaska. “During the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows, one thing remains constant: Unalaska’s support. It is like a large family you can lean on during the tough times,” Wilson said. Wilson then presented Class President Kiara Villamor, who introduced Guest Speaker Josh Good.
Good said that he'd had the pleasure of teaching the class of 2019 both in sixth grade, and then again as the high school industrial arts teacher. He offered the class a list of personally curated “life lessons.” These lessons ranged from, “do your best to never be late” to “you should have a mohawk at some point in your life.”
School Counselor Teri Morris then began the presentation of the scholarships. Morris said that the scholarships given out this year added up to $775,000 cumulative, including a four-year renewable scholarship for LeAnn Mears totaling $298,000. “I’m pretty sure that’s the biggest one I’ve ever seen,” said Morris of the scholarship.
Following scholarship presentations, the UCSD Photojournalism Class presented a slide show followed by the senior “thank you” videos. Many seniors got creative with these short video clips and expressed gratitude in unsuspecting places, and while preforming surprising activities. A crowd favorite this year was created by Amiel Fernandez, who presented his printed thank you messages entirely under water at the local aquatics center.
The students then presented roses of gratitude to friends, family and faculty.
Following the rose ceremony, Superintendent Conwell presented diplomas to the Class of 2019. There was a steady roar from the audience as each of the 34 seniors moved their tassels from the right side of their caps to the left.
After the ceremony, guests enjoyed light refreshments while graduates prepared for the Grad Night party, and exited the premises.
If you’d like to see the ceremony in it’s entirety, you can watch it this Wednesday (5/22), Friday (5/24), Saturday (5/25) or Sunday (5/26) at 8pm on Channel 8 TV.
Congratulations to the class of 2019!