EVANSTON — Those arriving for the Horizon High School graduation ceremony on Friday, May 31, at Davis Middle School were treated to a slide presentation of past and present photos of the graduating class of 2019, while the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” filled the auditorium.
Families and friends stood as the 16 seniors began the processional up to the stage, where Horizon Principal Shad Hamilton welcomed the families and friends of the graduates and introduced the valedictorian, Anny Wisdom, who gave a short speech.
Wisdom acknowledged and honored each of her classmates and the teachers at Horizon and gave testimony as to how Horizon High School had supported and helped her to achieve success.
Hamilton then introduced the second student speaker.
“We asked for a volunteer from the graduates who would like to speak at this ceremony, and I was surprised when Jose Sanchez asked to speak,” he said.
“I was a scared kid when I came to Horizon,” said Sanchez. “It was tough growing up without a father, but Horizon helped me see my own potential. I always knew the students and faculty had my back and will continue to do that. I have learned that how you respond to adversity is what is important in life, and also family and friends,” Sanchez said.
Each student stood as Hamilton gave recognition to the scholarship and NOCTI (National Occupational Competency Testing Institute) certification recipients. Those receiving the Hathaway Scholarship were Warren Parrish, Sean Shepherd and Janet Kyrie Wilkinson. Recipients of Culinary Arts NOCTI Certification were Litzy Anguiano, Chassidy Arthurs, Ivy Hornecker and Cory Hutchinson. Recipients of the Foundations of Construction NOCTI Certification were Hailey Guertzgen and Seth Workman. Anny Wisdom received the Advertising & Design NOCTI Certification.
Keynote speaker was retiring social studies teacher Katherine Alexander, who gave the students 10 suggestions for a successful future taken from a website by Barbara Cage. As she read the list, she gave personal examples that related to each of the students.
The 10 suggestions included realizing that life isn’t always fair — accept what you must and change what you can; thinking before you act; looking for the beauty in life, in people, in nature and in yourself; appreciating what you have, including the people, opportunities, and material possessions.
Alexander continued with suggestions including making the effort to have fun because it’s a great way to bond with others and make some of the best memories; setting aside some time for yourself; accepting others without judgment and celebrating diversity; forgiving and letting go of resentment; learning and opening your mind to new ideas and activities; and dreaming, making plans and believing in yourself, while not forgetting to give back to the world.
Alexander ended her speech with, “You are the plant we have nurtured and loved. Now you are our harvest. Go out and find joy and live a life of purpose. Do something to change the world in a positive way.”
Superintendents Ryan Thomas and Doug Rigby then certified the diplomas and made a few remarks. Rigby talked about the beginning of Horizon and recognized the two retiring teachers, Blaine Blonquist and Katherine Alexander, who had both taught for 20-plus years.
Hamilton then addressed the graduates, “Shine down on us all, persevere and always look for solutions to problems.”
Hamilton and school secretary Vicky Lester then presented each graduate with their diploma.