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Sierra High awards diplomas to 337 seniors
sierra grads
Delivering their addresses at Thursday’s Sierra High graduation were, from left, co-valedictorian Bryanna Gavino, salutatorian Bhupinder Kaur, and co-valedictorian Sophia Schmiedt. - photo by DAVE CAMPBELL/The Bulletin

Each and every member of the Sierra High School Class of 2019 is unique and different. 

But for a brief moment on Thursday night, the 337 graduating seniors came together as one to honor their collective hard work, dedication, and sacrifice towards a goal of completing their formal public-school education together.

And that evolution – from individual people into a collective body that created a culture of support and success – is one of the things that the speakers chose to talk about on Thursday at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium. 

“However, each and every one of us is different – from the path we took to get here to the people that we spent our time with along the way. The one thing that we have in common is that we made it – we have crossed the finish line and there is no turning back the clock now,” Co-Valedictorian Sophia Schmidt said in her speech. “Therefore, keep moving forward and reminisce only on the best moments. 

“Each of those best moments could be completely different – whether it’s winning a Section championship, or just becoming part of a team or a club; whether it’s passing a difficult test after floundering on the lase one or that one teacher whose witty comments shaped your outlook on life. It could even be Cole’s signature smiley face or just that one kid – even when he got on the teacher’s last nerve) that made you laugh every day in class.”

The ceremony featured the music of the Sierra High School band, under the direction of Rick Hammarstrom, as well as the vocal stylings of Liliana Vang who sang Adele’s “When We Were Young.” A band ensemble of seniors including Bryanna Gavino, Jeida Lavender, Elijah Trepel, Hannah Ras, Laura Davis, William Schock, Adam Gonzales and Daniel Bingham performed Kris Berg’s “Journey to the Shadowlands.”

In her time at the lectern, fellow Co-Valedictorian Bryanna Gavino used her time not only to offer advice to her fellow graduates, but to give them a list of things that they can focus on in order to remain happy as they embark on a new chapter in their life. 

Referring them as “dippy doo’s,” Gavino spelled out the points concisely and without the filler platitudes or analogous stories. 

At the end of the day, in Gavino’s eyes, it was all about staying young as long as possible. 

“If someone critiques you, they mean the best of you; Learn something, like how to play an instrument or the first 100 digits of pi; you are loved no matter what anyone says; no, you are not worthless, stop calling yourself trash; protect your body, but use it while you still can; protect your mind, but use it while you still can; do not fret – you don’t need to know what to do with your life just yet,” Gavino said to the Sierra High Class of 2019. “Try the things that scare you and learn the things that oppose you, and most importantly, always keep in touch with your childish side – if saying ‘I love you’ to your parents makes you feel like a kid, then do it. 

“My fellow graduating seniors, congratulations on all of your accomplishments, and while high school is over, I hope your whimsicality and excitement for adventures and fun never ceases.”

Salutatorian Bhupinder Kaur, who spoke her native language during a portion of her speech to thank her parents for their ongoing love and support, focused on the choices that they as graduates get to make now that they find themselves at a crossroads. 

Where students go from this point, Kaur said, is wholly up to them. 

“In the end, the final decision is yours. Where we choose to go, our choices are what will take us there and shape us into our future selves, this goes for everyone, not only the graduates, because we make decisions throughout our lives not just senior of high school,” Kaur said. “What we choose is what we become, it’s simple. But seniors, take this into consideration when you go off to live your life after high school.

“Whether you want to see this as a sorrowful goodbye or the start of something new, the choice is yours. New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings and I feel a new beginning coming towards us tonight. Rather than mourning over the goodbyes, lets run to this new beginning with open arms in whatever direction it takes us.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.