Paly sends off graduating seniors who seize the moment

Graduate Sage Loomis during commencement at Palo Alto High School on June 1, 2022. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

News

Paly sends off graduating seniors who seize the moment

Graduate Sage Loomis during commencement at Palo Alto High School on June 1, 2022. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Palo Alto High School's 2022 graduation ceremony on Wednesday didn't run perfectly smoothly.

Technical difficulties caused a few minutes of dead air as students set up to perform music and half the crowd sat in the beating sun, which only set below the school's buildings and trees right before the seniors turned their tassels.

School board vice president Jennifer DiBrienza opened her speech by promising to keep it brief, apologizing to the half of the crowd that "can't see a thing and is probably really hot."

But despite a few hiccups, the night was defined by a thankfulness to be together, along with the bittersweet knowledge that many students were saying goodbye.

The sign hanging over the stage put it simply: "We'll miss you!"

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

More than 3,500 people, possibly almost 4,000, gathered on Paly's quad at 5:30 p.m. to celebrate the 527 graduating seniors.

The crowd was wild despite Principal Brent Kline's request to "keep the air horns away" as the seniors walked the stage. The loud contraptions rang out, names were screamed and giant cardboard cutouts of students' heads were raised above the quad.

The ceremony was very different from 2021's ceremony, with a drastic majority of students and their families not wearing masks, and the event taking place on the quad instead of Viking Stadium.

Graduating senior Cuautemoc M. Guillen, who plans to attend Cañada College, said he felt sorry for the graduating classes of 2020, which did not have a traditional commencement ceremony, and 2021, which had a heavily masked and socially distanced ceremony.

However, Guillen said he was thankful he had a commencement ceremony that was much more similar to ones held before the COVID-19 shutdown.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

"I'm thankful for the opportunity to actually be here and see my graduation in person," he said.

Many of the commencement ceremony's speakers congratulated Paly students for their resilience, adapting to learning safely during a pandemic and coming back this year to show school spirit.

In her senior speech, Nysa Bhat said Paly students lost a huge part of their high school experience because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We left Paly as sophomores and suddenly came back as seniors," she said.

Students found silver linings during the shutdown by abandoning concerns and apprehensions to embrace a "carpe diem" attitude, Bhat said. "We lived everyday like it was the last day of high school," she said. "Because for all we knew, it could have been."

As he opened the presentation of the graduating class, Principal Kline thanked the students for bringing the "famous Paly spirit back from hibernation."

Along with the graduates' passion, faculty and fellow students commended the seniors for their resilience.

Kline congratulated the Class of 2022 for learning and becoming proficient in digital learning tools to continue their education.

"You demonstrated the ability to press on and bring others with you as all of us began to reconstruct our individual lives within the collective community we call Paly," he said.

And now that the seniors made it through high school, showing spirit and surpassing obstacles, they can look to the future.

Nine graduating seniors from Midpeninsula high schools look back on the past four years. Video clips contributed by students, edited by Magali Gauthier.

Palo Alto Unified Superintendent Don Austin charged the graduating class with not only doing great things, but being great people.

"When you have the opportunity to build something or to wreck something, build it," he said. "And that matters most when we talk about people."

In his closing remarks, senior class president Mathew Signorello-Katz got hearty rounds of applause when he said seniors are entering a society plagued with inequity and called on them to vote and protest in response.

"The true change-makers aren't limited to the elected officials residing within the walls of legislative houses," he said. "But rather the groups of ordinary people, united in their belief that our world can be changed for the better."

Although students and faculty gave seniors some lofty goals, the graduating class mostly seemed excited to make the most out of what life gave them next.

Bhat summed up the mood of the evening at the end of her senior speech, answering the question she posed at the beginning: "What would you do on your last day?"

"Who cares?" she said. "You do you!"

Read more:

Celebrating the class of 2022: A roundup of stories, graduate lists and photos

Local schools honor the class of 2022 with graduation ceremonies that resembled pre-pandemic celebrations.

List of graduates: Palo Alto High's Class of 2022

A total of 527 students make up this year's graduating class at Palo Alto High School.

Craving a new voice in Peninsula dining?

Sign up for the Peninsula Foodist newsletter.

Sign up now
John Bricker edits and writes Palo Alto-centric stories, along with managing a team of interns. Before joining the Palo Alto Weekly in 2022, he worked as San José Spotlight’s social media and newsletter editor and as executive producer at the Spartan Daily. Read more >>

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Get uninterrupted access to important local education news. Become a member today.

Paly sends off graduating seniors who seize the moment

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Jun 1, 2022, 11:19 pm

Palo Alto High School's 2022 graduation ceremony on Wednesday didn't run perfectly smoothly.

Technical difficulties caused a few minutes of dead air as students set up to perform music and half the crowd sat in the beating sun, which only set below the school's buildings and trees right before the seniors turned their tassels.

School board vice president Jennifer DiBrienza opened her speech by promising to keep it brief, apologizing to the half of the crowd that "can't see a thing and is probably really hot."

But despite a few hiccups, the night was defined by a thankfulness to be together, along with the bittersweet knowledge that many students were saying goodbye.

The sign hanging over the stage put it simply: "We'll miss you!"

More than 3,500 people, possibly almost 4,000, gathered on Paly's quad at 5:30 p.m. to celebrate the 527 graduating seniors.

The crowd was wild despite Principal Brent Kline's request to "keep the air horns away" as the seniors walked the stage. The loud contraptions rang out, names were screamed and giant cardboard cutouts of students' heads were raised above the quad.

The ceremony was very different from 2021's ceremony, with a drastic majority of students and their families not wearing masks, and the event taking place on the quad instead of Viking Stadium.

Graduating senior Cuautemoc M. Guillen, who plans to attend Cañada College, said he felt sorry for the graduating classes of 2020, which did not have a traditional commencement ceremony, and 2021, which had a heavily masked and socially distanced ceremony.

However, Guillen said he was thankful he had a commencement ceremony that was much more similar to ones held before the COVID-19 shutdown.

"I'm thankful for the opportunity to actually be here and see my graduation in person," he said.

Many of the commencement ceremony's speakers congratulated Paly students for their resilience, adapting to learning safely during a pandemic and coming back this year to show school spirit.

In her senior speech, Nysa Bhat said Paly students lost a huge part of their high school experience because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We left Paly as sophomores and suddenly came back as seniors," she said.

Students found silver linings during the shutdown by abandoning concerns and apprehensions to embrace a "carpe diem" attitude, Bhat said. "We lived everyday like it was the last day of high school," she said. "Because for all we knew, it could have been."

As he opened the presentation of the graduating class, Principal Kline thanked the students for bringing the "famous Paly spirit back from hibernation."

Along with the graduates' passion, faculty and fellow students commended the seniors for their resilience.

Kline congratulated the Class of 2022 for learning and becoming proficient in digital learning tools to continue their education.

"You demonstrated the ability to press on and bring others with you as all of us began to reconstruct our individual lives within the collective community we call Paly," he said.

And now that the seniors made it through high school, showing spirit and surpassing obstacles, they can look to the future.

Palo Alto Unified Superintendent Don Austin charged the graduating class with not only doing great things, but being great people.

"When you have the opportunity to build something or to wreck something, build it," he said. "And that matters most when we talk about people."

In his closing remarks, senior class president Mathew Signorello-Katz got hearty rounds of applause when he said seniors are entering a society plagued with inequity and called on them to vote and protest in response.

"The true change-makers aren't limited to the elected officials residing within the walls of legislative houses," he said. "But rather the groups of ordinary people, united in their belief that our world can be changed for the better."

Although students and faculty gave seniors some lofty goals, the graduating class mostly seemed excited to make the most out of what life gave them next.

Bhat summed up the mood of the evening at the end of her senior speech, answering the question she posed at the beginning: "What would you do on your last day?"

"Who cares?" she said. "You do you!"

Read more:

Celebrating the class of 2022: A roundup of stories, graduate lists and photos

Local schools honor the class of 2022 with graduation ceremonies that resembled pre-pandemic celebrations.

List of graduates: Palo Alto High's Class of 2022

A total of 527 students make up this year's graduating class at Palo Alto High School.

Comments

It.is.what.it.is
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2022 at 3:34 am
It.is.what.it.is, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jun 5, 2022 at 3:34 am

"Senior class president Mathew Signorello-Katz . . . said seniors are entering a society plagued with inequity and called on them to vote and protest in response." Wonderful, sit around and find things to protest rather than work hard and contribute to society. Let the other taxpayers pay for your existence while you pat yourself on the back for "helping others." The woke are leading the U.S. to its knees. China will completely own us because they work hard while Americans complain and want freebies. Americans are spoiled. Watch the Netflix documentary, "American Factory" and see why China is beating us.


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2022 at 7:13 am
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jun 5, 2022 at 7:13 am

As Jordan Peterson would say, "Stand up straight with your shoulders back" and "Clean your room".

I am in total agreement with the first poster.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.