Graduation 2012: It’s the ‘end of the world as we know it’ |

Graduation 2012: It’s the ‘end of the world as we know it’

Jenell Schwab/Sierra SunIn what has become an annual tradition, North Tahoe high school seniors decorated their caps in celebration of their graduation Friday evening.

TAHOE CITY, Calif. – The 2012 commencement exercise at North Tahoe High School Friday afternoon was a ceremony filled with joyous exclamations (Uno! Dos! Tres! – OOMPH!), bittersweet send-offs, and ample dashes of humor – including inside jokes shared by students, teachers and administrators.

The festivities, designed for and by the students, began with a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner performed by Oakley Keeler on clarinet, Kenna Bolt on saxophone and Nicole Phelan also on saxophone.

Principal Joanna Mitchell spoke first, telling students they have conducted themselves as free-thinking collaborators in “our” community. She went on to say, “Do not fear failure. It is not permanent and it leads to change and resiliency. Choose a profession that makes you happy and energizes you, and go into the world and be kind.”

Then she gave her final instruction to the class of 2012: “Lakers! Go forth from here and live your life!”

Nikki Caravelli delivered the first student speech. Calling upon a popular song by R.E.M., she cleverly reminded the class that 2012 is the “end of the world as we know it,” all the while assuring the audience that she did feel fine.

The next student speech was given by Madison Ordway and Samantha Jeffers. The duo performed a lively dialogue with flawless oratory – and comedic – timing.

Live, laugh and love, they told their fellow graduates. “If there’s a lake, jump in it,” they encouraged, before calling out a classmate – who presumably had a personal story about jumping in said lake – by name.

The third and final speech was presented by Tannyr Pasvantis who exclaimed, “We are young. Let’s set this world on fire because we can burn brighter than the sun!”

Graduates Kylie Henderson and Mychal Paschall announced the Honorary Graduates, awards bestowed by the graduating class on influential teachers. This year’s winners were Scott Everist and Jennifer Jurosky.

Finally, the students recognized retiring teachers Dan Gill, Eric McCready and Peggy Heidelberger-Smith.

After the speeches and awards, each member of the 64-student class walked over the stage to receive his or her diploma. Mitchell stood at the base of the stage, turning each graduate’s tassel and giving all the students a big congratulatory hug before sending them on their way.

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