Being a relatively small school, Coast Union High School has the luxury of making its graduation ceremony more personal than many others.
On Thursday afternoon, June 11, the graduating class of 49 seniors enjoyed what valedictorian Ariel West called, “a day when we all stand together for the last time and let the ice water of reality wash away our senioritis.”
That day included a slide presentation showing every graduating senior as a very young child, followed by another more recent photo.
First-year principal Jonathan Sison joked that in his previous job, he’d taken pride in getting through hundreds of graduating seniors in less than an hour.
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Thursday’s ceremony, by contrast, was more leisurely and to each of the individual graduates, more personally meaningful.
Each student receiving a diploma was introduced to the audience in the Coast Union gym with a short biography.
The afternoon began with a processional and a welcome from class President Gehrig Kniffen.
“We will be the class that is talked about for years to come,” Kniffen declared.
He congratulated several seniors by name and also paid tribute to instructor/volleyball coach Pam Kenyon, whose battle against cancer has been an inspiration to many on campus and in the community at large.
Superintendent Victoria Schumacher followed with an exhortation to students that they should develop both their “résumé self” — the accomplishments society values — and their “eulogy self,” the person others will remember once they’re gone.
Next, Sison told the graduates to pursue satisfaction in both their personal lives and careers. It isn’t enough to be either effective or happy in one’s profession, he remarked.
“In your chosen career, you must be both effective and happy,” he said. “Otherwise, you’ll be doing both yourself and others a terrible disservice.”
Salutatorian Toby Lyons also spoke, as did exchange students Sophia Alexander and Kilian Wesemann. Seniors Logan Hodges and Chase Tatham teamed up on the farewell address. School Board President Del Clegg Jr. presented the diplomas.
Also Tuesday, graduating seniors received a total of $92,550 in scholarship money from 51 donors — two more than the number of graduates.
Following is a list of academic honors presented during the graduation ceremony.
- Valedictorian — Ariel West.
- Salutatorian — Toby Lyons.
- CSF Life Seal — Callie Cashdan, Courtney Castle, Remy Corbet, Vicente Cueva, Maria Figueroa, Dallas Johnson, Renee Johnson, Gehrig Kniffen, Lyons, John McManus, Sage Radecki, Alexander Stoothoff, Chase Tatham, West.
- Golden Seal Diploma — Cashdan, Castle, Corbet, Cueva, Figueroa, Dallas Johnson, Renee Johnson, Kniffen, Lyons, McManus, Radecki, Stoothoff, Tatham, West. Honorary Diploma — Sophie Alexander, Kellie Rennie.
- State Seal of Biliteracy — Cueva, Figueroa, Pedro Leonardo, Crystal Nuñez.