‘You are the hope for many people you’ve not met yet’
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
Brentwood High School’s senior class of 2016 received one last round of advice last week before heading out into the world. They heard six brief but heartfelt speeches by school administrators and their own classmates at the school’s 88th annual commencement ceremony on Friday, May 20.
The 62 students were told to leave the school with no regrets, to make peace with their decisions, to resist “the ways of the world,” and to go out and come up with ideas that will make a mark on the world.
Senior Lindsey Jones made opening remarks, followed by an address by Principal Ed Jones. He said the class had the best academic record in recent memory and he listed 13 who each scored 30 or higher on the ACT exam: Julius Bestman, Chris Brown, Kate Gilmore, Elijah Hoskins, Christian Kroll, Noah Lee, Alex Riedel, Sophia Rivera, Yumino Sasaki, Seamus Saunders, Alex Smoller, Sam Tilton and Seth Winkleman.
Craren: ‘Welcome to the rest of your life’
Senior Tedi Craren then spoke, advising her classmates to “leave here with no regrets. … Life cannot be rewound.” After breaking down the average lifespan into number of days, she said, “The remaining days in our lifetime should be spent embracing our loved ones, reminiscing with friends, reflecting on our achievements, finding peace within our decisions and nurturing our limitless imaginations. Welcome to the rest of your life. Congratulations and good luck with the next 27,770 days.”
Saunders: ‘We have all made marks’
The commencement address was made by senior Seamus Saunders. Following are excerpts:
“Throughout our time at Brentwood High School, we have all made marks, whether it was with a paint brush creating a work of art or a football thrown for a playoff victory, or simply a pencil rapidly scribbling down units for Mr. Flores. As seniors looking ahead, it is easy to forget the marks we made each day over the past four years. But those marks were more than smudges on a page. Those marks transformed our minds, personalities and thoughts. And tonight I urge you to realize that even if you feel like you’re walking out of these halls unmarked, you left a mark on someone in this community. … Our marks, your marks, created impacts on everyone around us. We sparked an idea in a fellow classmate. We cheered on a friend at senior night. We smiled at someone in the hallway. We stood up for what was right. We spoke up about what we believed in. We protested against racial injustice. We called a friend when they needed comfort. We created a community for each other. So to my fellow graduates, as we move on to this next phase in life, take time to remember the marks made at Brentwood High School. But also seek out new ways to make an impact. Continue to voice your opinion and fight for what matters to you. Go out and create the ideas that will make your mark on this world.”
Faulkner: World ‘not as much like Brentwood as it should be’
Before the diplomas were awarded, Superintendent David Faulkner advised the seniors to “work together for what is good and right. He added, “And I will tell you, with much sadness, the world outside Brentwood is not as much like Brentwood as it should be. You are the hope for many people you’ve not met yet.”
Faulkner also advised the students to “be involved citizens,” to support public schools and to not “let yourselves be taken over by the ways of the world.”
Gilmore: ‘Each day at school counts’
Senior Kate Gilmore made closing comments, thanking school staff, fellow students and community members for their role in her education. She also thanked parents “for dragging us out of bed each morning knowing that each day at school counts.”