56 Get Diplomas at BHS Commencement

Darya Tajfiroozeh smiles upon being introduced as the BHS Class of 2015 valedictorian during commencement on Friday at the high school. (All photos by Steve Bowman)
Darya Tajfiroozeh smiles upon being introduced as the BHS Class of 2015 valedictorian during commencement on Friday at the high school. She graduated with a cumulative GPA of 4.26. (All photos by Steve Bowman)

Tajfiroozeh named valedictorian, Nikodym salutatorian

 
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
email: bowmansj@sbcglobal.net

Dressed in a black cap and gown and standing at the lectern before a capacity crowd at Brentwood High School’s auditorium on Friday evening, Alex Patton suddenly started to feel not so much old — he’s only 18 — but older.

As the school’s student council president, Patton was delivering a speech at his class of 2015’s commencement ceremony. To his left on the stage were his classmates, almost 60 of them, sitting in six neat rows in their caps and gowns. In front of him, in the darkness beneath the glare of spotlights, were hundreds of his classmates’ relatives and friends.

“Wow, I do not feel like an adult,” he said.

He might have been speaking for his entire class. And if they were thinking that, many in the audience, particularly the proud parents, might have replied:

“Wow, I can’t believe you’re an adult.”

BHS STUCO President Alex Patton addresses the commencement crowd.
BHS STUCO President Alex Patton addresses the commencement crowd.

Patton was one of the ceremony’s six speakers, who included valedictorian Darya Tajfiroozeh and salutatorian Julianna Nikodym, whose respective cumulative grade-point averages are 4.26 and 4.21. There was no central theme but several speakers challenged the graduates to concentrate on what is meaningful rather than transitory.

“Limit distractions,” BHS Principal Ed Johnson said. “The distractibility index is through the roof with the emergence of social media and everything else that’s coming at you.”

BHS Principal Ed Johnson tells the senior class to blah blah blah.
Referring to the school’s mascot, BHS Principal Ed Johnson says, “I see each of you as an eagle who has been raised here at Brentwood and who is now ready to leave the eagle’s nest and fly on your own.”

Said Nikodym: “I encourage you all to take the time to enjoy every moment as it happens, not as it passes.”

She closed with a quote that has been attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

Salutatorian Julianna Nikodym receives her diploma from her father, Jim, who teaches at BHS.
Salutatorian Julianna Nikodym receives her diploma from her father, Brian Nikodym, who teaches at BHS.

Senior Austin Koster said, “It’s not our abilities that show who we truly are, it’s our choices.”

Koster shared that his father kept a journal of all the things the two of them did together for six years, then gave it to the youngster a couple of years ago. Among the advice in the back of the journal is the axiom “Be careful how you define success.” Added Koster, “Being successful is not the same as being happy.”

But Koster closed with a quote not from his father but from the Green Goblin in “Spider-Man” the movie: “We are who we choose to be.”

Said senior Austin Koster, "One of my favorite teachers of all time couldn't make it here: Professor Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series. Koster then quoted the movie character: "It's not our abilities that show who we truly are; it's our choices."
Said senior Austin Koster, “One of my favorite teachers of all time couldn’t make it here: Professor Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series. Koster then quoted the movie character: “It’s not our abilities that show who we truly are; it’s our choices.”
The BHS Choir sings "Times of Our Lives" by Tyrone Wells.
The BHS Choir sings “Times of Our Lives” by Tyrone Wells.
The front row of soon-to-be graduates listens to a speaker.
The front row of soon-to-be graduates listens to a speaker.
Jordan Roddy receives his diploma from Brentwood School Board President Chris Jones.
Jordan Roddy receives his diploma from Brentwood School Board President Chris Jones.
Michael Logan receives his diploma.
Michael Logan receives his diploma.
Brentwood School Board President Chris Jones presents a diploma to Lauren Macy.
Brentwood School Board President Chris Jones presents a diploma to Lauren Macy.
After receiving his diploma from his mother, BHS teacher Shannon Koster, Austin Koster lifts her off her feet with a hug.
After receiving his diploma from his mother, BHS teacher Shannon Koster, Austin Koster lifts her off her feet with a hug.
Cole Mayfield receives his diploma.
Cole Mayfield receives his diploma.
At the end of the ceremony, the Class of 2015 is presented to the crowd by BHS Principal Ed Johnson . . .
At the end of the ceremony, the Class of 2015 is presented to the crowd by BHS Principal Ed Johnson . . .

DSC_6897 Hats Fly 2

Classmates pose for photos in the courtyard after commencement.
Classmates pose for photos in the courtyard after commencement.

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