After spending about 721 memorable days together, the 2014 graduating class of Southridge High School bid farewell to each other with whoops and hollers.
“What I’ll miss most is all of you,” said Kieran Doherty, the senior class delegate who got things rolling by introducing the first of three valedictorians — Gianna Nino-Tapia.
The first thing Gianna did as she approached the podium was haul out her cellphone. “Before I do anything else, I gotta take a selfie,” she said. She then turned around so her photo included her with her 277 classmates, drawing loud cheers.
She encouraged her class to set out into the world to find those who bring out the best in them and forget about the ones who bring the worst.
Brent Schafer was next saying, “I am sure glad this year is over because it was rough.”
He shared the work ethic of his late grandfather and that it was his lifelong example of hard work that inspired him to excel athletically and academically.
“My grandfather was a great inspiration to me,” Schafer said.
The third valedictorian, Catherine Warner, told her classmates, “Don’t let others drag you down.” She recounted a story about playing golf one day.
“As I was getting ready to make my shot, some guy drives by and flips me the finger and tells me I suck,” she said. “I went on to win that tournament that day and eventually the district title. Don’t listen to the hateful things people say.”
Salutatorian Ellen Korson got a chuckle from her classmates when she pulled a stool up to the podium.
“I know I’m tiny, but my height does not reflect my dreams,” she said. “And how we treat each other is what’s important in life.”