Golden it was — so take that, Mother Nature!
Shifted from Natomas High to Golden 1 Center due to a threatened storm, last night’s Nighthawk graduation ceremony featured partly cloudy skies overhead, storm clouds to the east, idyllic conditions in the arena — and student stars everywhere you looked.
Principal Scott Pitts lauded the Class of 2019 as more than 200 graduating seniors who will go down in Natomas High history as the class that …
1) Set school scoring records in state testing of English Language Arts when they were juniors.
2) Received more than 170 admission acceptances from 40-plus colleges and universities nationwide.
3) Had five students step up to serve the nation in military service — four as Marines, one as a member of the National Guard.
3) Launched two news sports team on campus — swimming and boys volleyball.
4) Distinguished Natomas High in sports with four league champions, five teams making it to post-season play, 43 athletes earning all-league honors, four athletes named Most Valuable Player of their league, three wrestlers making it to the state meet, and a Nighthawk soccer player shattering the school record by scoring 113 career goals.
Again and again, the themes of Natomas High unity, pride, friendship, and strength in diversity were emphasized at last night’s graduation ceremony.
Consistent with NUSD’s Core Belief that “our diversity is a strength,” about a dozen Nighthawks students stepped to the microphone to welcome the crowd in the students’ native language, including Spanish, Hmong, Arabic, Czech, Malay and Sign Language.
Student speaker Eduardo Vargas hailed Natomas High as a school and a student body that can change the world.
“If the attitudes of the world were anything like the attitudes of my teachers and peers, the world would be better for it,” Eduardo said.
Eduardo urged his Nighthawk classmates to dream big, adding, “I am scared I may fail, but I am a member of a class of dreamers — a class who challenges the status quo every day.”
Eduardo concluded by saying, “So go on, as the world changes, as your peers cry out for help, as you navigate the world, and as hailstorms cause disasters – spread our culture of tolerance, inclusion, and diversity to the world. Go on and SOAR, Nighthawks.”
Added Senior Class President Chidinma Ohio, “Diversity is a common thread at Natomas High School and strengthens, unites, and shapes the lens by which we have been educated in the past four years. It is this diversity that we have experienced during our high school career that we will carry with us as we move forward.”
Chidinma touted the school’s wide differences of opinions as a strength, too. “If there’s one thing to remember of this class, it’s – oh boy! – do we have our opinions. But what good is progress if we fall under the same ideas? Let’s use our opinions to form our own images of the world and be the heroes we want to see. I want you to take your opinions and tackle the world.”
Chidinma described how she immigrated to America from Nigeria with parents who “left everything they had ever known” behind them. From those humble beginnings, she has excelled at Natomas High, serving as president of her class for four years and earning a grade point average above 4.0. She will attend UC Irvine next year.
Chidinma summed up the bittersweet nature of the Nighthawk graduation by saying simply, “As Winnie the Pooh says, ‘How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?’”
Congratulations, Nighthawk Class of 2019 – may your future be as bright and memorable as your past four years at Natomas High.