Mount Shasta High grads ‘float on’ to bright futures

Cody Lakin
Mount Shasta High School graduates made the transition to adulthood during Friday’s commencement ceremony, held outdoors on the field at Joe Blevins Memorial Stadium, with Mt. Shasta providing a stunning backdrop.

Friday evening’s 2014 graduation ceremony at Mount Shasta High School was filled with smiles, laughs, and some happy tears among those in the audience and members of the graduating class.

Speeches by students and staff members were both funny and touching during the event held on the Joe Blevins Memorial Stadium football field.

Co-valedictorian Kevin Axelrod spoke about the importance and significance of being a team rather than mere individuals. He said, “Champions believe in their teammates,” and “This class has evolved into a community.”

Co-valedictorian Aimee Langston gave an overview of a challenging and adventurous life as a missionary, among many other things, and expressed her honor and gratitude for her parents, brother, and closest friend.

Salutatorian Mackenzie Armstrong recounted humorous and meaningful stories over the course of the graduates’ four-year journey. “Now that we’re not in high school anymore, it’s gonna be a lot harder to tell what day of the week it is,” she said. She concluded by saying “We’ll always be Mt. Shasta graduates at heart.”

Calling graduation a gateway to adulthood, staff speaker Serge Killingsworth said, “You’re now no longer high schoolers, and you no longer have to ask permission to use the bathroom.”

This was Killingsworth’s last year after a long career as Mount Shasta High School’s math teacher. He is retiring and moving to the Portland area to be closer to his grandchildren.

Principal Jennifer McKinnon opened the graduation with a speech about the journeys that all students go through, from freshman orientation to walking up to take their diplomas and begin the rest of their lives.

“I’ve also grown to appreciate just as much as the things that happen in school while we’re watching, the things that happen outside of school, when nobody’s officially looking,” McKinnon said, going on to tell about students who would pick up pieces of trash from the hallway floor or offer a helping hand to a fellow student.

Greg Eastman’s Jazz Choir sang “Seasons of Love,” before teacher Les Phillips called each graduate to the stage to receive their diplomas from Siskiyou Union High School District trustees Lori Harch and John Hines.

The graduating class walked out to the song, “Float On” by Modest Mouse.