Seniors wait for their names to be called to cross the stage and receive their diplomas on May 20 in the Brentwood High School auditorium. (All photos by Steve Bowman)

Seniors wait for their names to be called to cross the stage and receive their diplomas on May 20 in the Brentwood High School auditorium. They are (from left) Sarah Thomas, Gary Silerio, Megan Shipley, Jesse Laseter, Sotiria Karanikolas, Abby Harper and Jacob Clay. (All photos by Steve Bowman)

‘You are the hope for many people you’ve not met yet’

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

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.

Seniors stand on the BHS stage for the last time as students.

Seniors take their places on the BHS stage. On the front row are (from left) Alex Riedel, Justin Redfering, Claudia Jones and Demetrius Graves.

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.

Senior Lindsey Jones makes opening remarks.

Senior Lindsey Jones makes opening remarks.

BHS Principal Ed Jones praises the class of 2016 for its high achievement.

BHS Principal Ed Jones praises the class of 2016 for its high achievement.

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.”

Tedi Craren presents "senior class reflections."

Tedi Craren presents “senior class reflections.”

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.”

Senior Seamus Saunders delivers his class's commencement address.

Senior Seamus Saunders delivers the commencement address.

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.”

Superintendent David Faulkner speaks before diplomas are awarded.

Superintendent David Faulkner speaks before diplomas are awarded. The photo is from last year’s ceremony.

Olivia Wagner receives her diploma from school board president Keith Rabenberg.

Olivia Wagner receives her diploma from school board president Keith Rabenberg.

Nigel Bracey receives his diploma from Keith Rabenberg, president of the Brentwood Board of Education.

Nigel Bracey receives his diploma from Keith Rabenberg.

BHS teacher Christa Jones hands a diploma to her daughter Claudia.

BHS teacher Christa Jones hands a diploma to her daughter Claudia.

Nicholas Hampel receives his diploma from Keith Rabenberg.

Rabenberg hands a diploma to Nicholas Hampel.

Brian Hutton exchanges smiles with BHS Principal Ed Jones.

Brian Hutton exchanges smiles with BHS Principal Ed Jones.

Page Reilly gets her diploma.

Page Reilly gets her diploma from Rabenberg.

Molly Mills receives her diploma.

Molly Mills receives her diploma.

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.”

Senior Kate Gilmore makes closing comments.

Senior Kate Gilmore makes closing comments.