Perhaps Emma Bayne captured the theme of Inderkum High School’s graduation ceremony last night with a two-word characterization of the Class of 2019: Dream Team.
Time and again, speakers at the graduation referred to dreams fulfilled at Inderkum the past four years, and dreams to chase, goals to reach, and a world to change in years ahead. Hundreds of people looked on, took photos, and cheered at Golden 1 Center.
Principal Dan Motherspaw saluted the graduating class of roughly 450 students for their grit, responsibility, optimism and willingness to help others, among other things. He noted that about two-thirds of the senior class has taken all courses required for UC or CSU admission; about 240 Tigers have been accepted into four-year colleges or universities; and the Class of 2019 collectively donated about 15,000 hours of community service this year.
Emma, in her speech, talked of extraordinary Tigers such as Hiya Peesu, who raised money for her state in India, and Damon Heu Sayasoni, who volunteered three times the required number of service hours to Natomas’ Youth Action Corps.
“It’s students like these that make us a class of innovators, scholars, activists and leaders,” Emma said. “I know that you all will better the world because I have seen you fight for what you believe in.”
Added Salutatorian Reina Villongco, “At a time where our country is in such turmoil – politically, racially and socially – I am honored to say that I come from a school that represents what we, for many generations, have only dreamed of our country to look like.”
“As we begin the next phase of our lives, we have to stay connected to who we truly are,” Reina said, noting that Inderkum’s graduating seniors are outstanding scholars with bright futures as doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers, news anchors, military personnel, musicians, sculptors, painters, dancers, photographers ….
Reina concluded, “We are spirited. We are worldly. We are optimistic. We are diversity. We are Tigers.”
Valedictorian Ethan Kho reminded graduates that leaving Inderkum is a beginning, not an end. “From here, we only walk forward, toward a place of greater responsibility, toward a bigger sky for us to spread our wings … I can’t help but think, ‘Wow, we’ve got a long way to go, and I can’t wait to see how we’ll get there.”
As they make that journey, Faculty Speaker Cristy Pitts advised them always to continue serving others, to embrace technology “but don’t forget to look up from your phone,” and to value who they are and be thankful for those who helped them along the way.
“Don’t forget the beautiful diversity of the Natomas community, and don’t forget the magic of Inderkum High School,” Pitts said. “We won’t forget you!”
Dream team, indeed … Congratulations, Tiger Class of 2019!