Class of ’12 leaves with sound advice, valued memories

Sunday Starbuck and Kendall Beckett wait in the front row to receive their diplomas. - Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review
Sunday Starbuck and Kendall Beckett wait in the front row to receive their diplomas.
— image credit: Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review

They had taken their final tests, said a few goodbyes, and made a final and traditional dash through the halls of Bainbridge High School. The Class of 2012 was ready to toss their tassles to the wind.

Graduation Day at Spartan Stadium on Saturday, June 9 was filled with tears, laughter and quite a few thumbs up. Departing seniors were preparing for the big day, fitting their caps on top of their heads indoors, while outside the band played “Leaving Hogwarts” to commemorate the occasion.

The seniors received a standing ovation as they walked around the stadium at Bainbridge High and took their seats at the edge of the field.

The beach balls began bouncing atop the seniors’ heads when Principal Brent Peterson began speaking with a smile. It was clear that the families and friends who had gathered for commencement had more in store for them than the generic graduation farewell.

Owen Richfield took to the piano and performed an original piece, “Little One,” a song about growing up.

Student Lauren Reisfeld was accompanied by Derek Lee on piano as she also sang an original piece, “Time Flies.”

The impressive talent brought Bainbridge High School to its feet.

But the students would soon prove that they also had the talent to move the crowd with their words.

Valedictorian Ariel Levari reminded them that no matter what lay behind or before his fellow graduates, what lies within themselves was what truly counts.

Kristi Worley noted her class’ ability to change in the face of adversity. Noting that despite the Mayan calendars that end this year, her class can push on.

Hanna Hupp brought a nostalgic view of the students’ time on the island, but looked ahead with ambition and faith in what graduates can offer the world — while also showing what Bainbridge Island is all about.

Brian Bruzzo, aka “Obama guy” around campus, also took the mic.

Bruzzo’s speech held the significance of the day, and looked well past high school.

However, his speech took on a more inspirational, political tone one might not expect from a high school senior.

“The Middle East is as violent and as unstable as ever,” Bruzzo began. “Genocide and war and rampant HIV are status quo in parts of the world.”

But despite bringing to light the realities of the world, Bruzzo wasn’t going to leave his audience without any hope.

“The people who are suffering around the world today are holding on to one thing, their hope in a new generation,” he added.

Valedictorian Carolyn Milander also took the mic at graduation. She was nervous, though not for the reasons one might expect.

“The last time I stood on the field as member of the homecoming court I was taken sudden surprise when a streaker ran right past us and bounded across this field,” Milander said.

“So you can only imagine the nervousness I am feeling standing here now,” she said.

She also offered her own bit of advice to her fellow graduates — live for today.

“The best way to prepare for the future is by doing your best today,” Milander said.

“So often we think that the good things in life come tomorrow and we close our eyes to the good things presently surrounding us,” she said. “Life for us will be much more enjoyable and much more meaningful if we can learn to take things one day at a time.”

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