A high school graduation is, among other things, the last opportunity for the ceremony’s student speakers to show off their writing skills.
That was the case not only for the student speakers at the Platteville High School Class of 2016 commencement Sunday, but for adult speakers as well.
Class secretary Erin Bowden said the ceremony marked the end of “2,740 days of school, countless tests, thousands of math problems, sixth grade physical education where we thought showers were optional, and too few snow days.”
Allison Woodworth plans to become a doctor, so she gave her “Prescription for Success” with, for instance, saying a podiatrist would suggest graduates “put your best foot forward by stepping out of our comfort zone,” a neurologist would suggest grads “have the nerve to chase our dreams,” a pulmonologist would say “take a deep breath and relax,” a dentist would suggest grads “keep a smile on our face no matter where we go,” and an obstetrician/gynecologist would say, “Baby, you made it.”
Vince Momot opened by noting the “bright future of student debt that is yet to come” for future college students.
Momot was one of several student and adult speakers who thanked community contributions to the school district, including the PHS Scholarship Fund, which funds scholarships “to continue our schooling, as if 12 years isn’t enough.”
Saafia Masoom, who introduced herself as “that girl that corrected everyone’s grammar,” had a fellow graduate pass out silver stickers.
“To the people sitting around you today, you will always be the center of the universe,” said Masoom. “What are you going to do with your star power?”
Masoom said graduates’ education gives them “not the power to know things, but the power to do things with what you know.”
Masoom’s father, school board member Abulkhair Masoom, noted that the class had given their parents “gray hairs, or in a case like mine, fewer hairs.”
School board president Brian Miesen, who noted that it was “a tough act to follow with two Masooms speaking on the same day,” quoted Muhammad Ali, who died Friday, that “If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it.”
PHS principal Tim Engh observed that it was “the first time you’re allowed to wear a hat in the building,” and “probably the first time you’ve sat together and not watched a YouTube video.”
Engh said the graduates’ diplomas were their own accomplishments: “Nobody forced you to do it, nobody could make you do it; you chose to do it.”
Platteville Public Schools superintendent Connie Valenza asked graduates to “whatever you have planned, leave something lasting that you will be proud of. … I also hope that Platteville, at least in your heart, will be your forever home.’