The Class of 2022 Prepares to Take the World by Storm

Esther Fu and Eman Abdurezak

After the final wave of rain showers on Thursday, June 9th, families and friends of the Class of 2022 arrived at Russell Field to witness a monumental milestone: the high school graduation of 473 students. As prospective graduates strutted onto the field to “Pomp and Circumstance,” gowns billowing in the wind and tassels swaying with their strides, they took their seats on folding chairs, marking the end of their high school careers and the start of a new chapter.

The ceremony started by recognizing the diversity and achievements of the graduating class.

The weather proved to be quite the scare for graduation coordinators. With heavy showers throughout the day, the stormy weather halted just in time for graduates to take the stage. Principal Damon Smith tells the Register Forum, “We’ve been blessed to have beautiful weather and a great turnout; people are happy, people are healthy… It’s just a great way for us to come back together after so many years being apart and it’s just a great culmination for everything.”

The ceremony started by recognizing the diversity and achievements of the graduating class, with 48 students receiving at least one Seal of Biliteracy, representing 23 different spoken languages. After a rendition of the national anthem by the CRLS Traveling Chorus, the ceremony featured welcoming words and speeches by Assistant Principal Robert Tynes, Salutatorian Sachiko Kirby, Principal Damon Smith, Superintendent Victoria Greer, Student Body Co-Presidents Chloe Duncan-Wald and Jinho Lee, Senior Class President Laila Nunes, Valedictorian Jade Buckwalter, and City Councilor Alanna Mallon, along with a passionate interpretation of “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman by senior Lainey Kerr.

As applause and cheers filled the air, each member of the Class of 2022 walked the stage to receive their diploma. Cherylanne Foster, the mother of graduate Tennesse Foster, told the Register Forum, “My son graduated and he has been friends with kids since the first grade and all of them remained friends. To see all of them on that stage…” she trailed off, watching the bubbling groups of supporting family members, teachers, and friends chatting as they took photos and reminisced on years past. “It was truly amazing.”

A feeling of celebration hung above the venue as students milled about, frantic to bid final goodbyes to friends and former classmates. Due to COVID-19 concerns, the ceremony was held outdoors as opposed to the typical ceremony in the Field House. Yet, many students felt a sense of relief to graduate in a year with large efforts made towards normalcy. Alem Abraham ’22 expresses her appreciation to the Register Forum, “I’m honestly so grateful to be able to go to the ceremony and to be able to graduate with my class. We’ve been through a lot, so I’m very grateful for everything.”

Masato Hall, who took the route of graduating a year early, reveals to the Register Forum, “I’m definitely excited that I’m going to the next stage of life… I’m doing a gap year. I’m planning to go to Taiwan for a year, study Mandarin, and I’m going to apply to college there eventually.”

No matter your path in life, Superintendent Greer highlights the importance of remembering your roots. She advises in her speech, “As you go on to pursue your dreams, remember who you are and where you come from.”

This piece also appears in our June 2022 print edition.