Members of the Zimmerman High School Class of 2019 heard some advice, had a few laughs and collected their diplomas during commencement exercises Wednesday night.
Speakers noted that this was the 15th class to graduate from the school and there are now almost 2,000 ZHS alumni scattered around the world.
The Class of 2019 was composed of 155 graduates.
The blue-robed seniors entered the school gym to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance,” played by the high school band under the direction of Tim Smith. Teacher Jim Doran gave the welcome and the high school choir directed by Bryan Waznik sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Homeward Bound.”
Superintendent Daniel Bittman congratulated the class and offered a few pieces of advice. Be kind. Work hard. Discover yourself. Treat everyone with respect. Don’t be afraid of, or hide from, your mistakes. Keep moving forward no matter how difficult the journey. Always prioritize relationships. Live life fully and soak in every opportunity.
“Class of 2019, this is your time,” Bittman concluded. “Take advantage of every opportunity to learn and to make the world a better place.”
Two students spoke, Carter Giese and Miranda Muckenhirn.
Giese entertained the crowd with a speech titled “Change.” He talked about the four years of high school, starting as naive freshmen unsure about their places in the world and ending as seniors afflicted with Stage 1 Senioritis with the only known cure seeming to be graduation.
He said that there are many changes ahead for the Class of 2019. While change can be scary, it’s also exciting, he said.
He told his classmates that they all have it within themselves to achieve greatness.
“Many of our role models, leaders, celebrities and Kardashians began right here, just like us, as normal people,” he said. “Greatness doesn’t necessarily mean success, wealth or power. Greatness means leaving everyone you come across with a little more happiness, knowledge and hope.”
“Our time together as a class won’t be remembered by grades, ACTs, SnapScores or your amount of likes and followers, but by what kind of person you were and how you changed the people around you. This, and this alone, will be our legacy,” he said.
Muckenhirn, in a speech titled “Impact,” said the Class of 2019 has been determined to leave an impact. Among the highlights were bringing back Starstruck, the school talent show, and reinstating the boys soccer team.
“Those things happened because they wouldn’t accept, ‘It won’t happen,’ as an answer,” she said.
She said the Class of 2019 possesses incredible potential. She urged her classmates to have goals for what they want in life, focus on them and don’t bend to other people’s ideas of what they should be.
“Prepare to make that impact,” she said. “We are determined with the force of a storm. Graduating tonight, that’s the flash of lightning, and nobody will be able to ignore the deafening boom of the Thunder.”
German teacher Monte Bloom was chosen by the class to be the faculty speaker. He titled his speech “Random Thoughts by Bloom” and covered topics ranging from reputation to cellphones, the senior retreat to his “Book of Shame.”
He also offered some advice. Among the pearls were: If you find great friends, hang onto them. Eat apples. Don’t name your children Moon Unit Zappa (or anything weird like that). Keep learning until you die. There are 10,000 lakes around us — learn to swim. Talk with people, not at them. Stay physically fit. Think before you speak. When you screw up, apologize. Hair grows back, so if you get a pink mohawk, it’s OK. When things get really hard in life, you have to pull yourself back into the moment and live second by second until it gets better.
After the speeches concluded, Assistant Principal Kurran Sagan presented the class. One by one, the students crossed the stage to collect their diplomas.
After a final farewell, the students tossed their mortar boards high into the air and filed out of the gym to the sounds of the band playing “Glacier Bay.”