KIHS grad­u­ates cel­e­brate their ‘Suc­cess’ cul­ture

Record Observer - - Front Page - By HAN­NAH COMBS hcombs@kibay­times.com

STEVENSVILLE — Kent Is­land High School cel­e­brated the Class of 2016 on Thurs­day, June 2 at the 18th an­nual com­mence­ment. Two hun­dred and ninety-two stu­dents re­ceived their diplo­mas on a stage set in the school’s out­door sta­dium, sur­rounded by fam­ily, friends and faculty.

“It is a great honor to be a part of this grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony. Most of you were born the same year Kent Is­land High School was born,” Queen Anne’s Su­per­in­ten­dent of Schools Dr. Carol Wil­liamson told the grad­u­at­ing class.

Wil­liamson said when she asked Prin­ci­pal John Schre­con­gost to de­scribe the Class of 2016 called them in­tel­li­gent, tal­ented and well-be­haved. Those traits served as a re­cur­ring theme through­out the evening. This year the se­nior class boasted two salu­ta­to­ri­ans,

and many grad­u­ates were mem­bers of the Na­tional Honor So­ci­ety, Na­tional Tech­ni­cal Honor So­ci­ety, In­ter­na­tional Thes­pian So­ci­ety, Span­ish Honor So­ci­ety and French Honor So­ci­ety.

Wil­liamson high­lighted the class’ suc­cess in aca­demics. “Over 1,000 col­lege ap­pli­ca­tions were sub­mit­ted by this class,” she said. “The av­er­age daily at­ten­dance for the last three years was 95 per­cent, and your hard work paid off be­cause you re­ceived over $6 mil­lion in schol­ar­ships.”

She thanked the stu­dents who had made a com­mit­ment to serve in the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard and Marines.

“You have had an out­stand­ing year,” she said, “you have left your mark on Kent Is­land High School.”

Mem­bers of the se­nior class opened the cer­e­mony with a mov­ing, a capella ren­di­tion of the Na­tional An­them, and mem­bers of the se­nior class also joined in the choral pre­sen­ta­tion, “Slip­ping Through My Fin­gers.”

Class Pres­i­dent Ryan Do­mo­gauer en­ter­tained guests and class­mates with his open­ing re­marks.

“This is your pres­i­dent speak­ing,” Do­mo­gauer said. “Thank you to our coaches, teach­ers, lov­ing and sup­port­ing fam­ily mem­bers, we wouldn’t be here without you. Con­grat­u­la­tions to my fel­low class­mates,. I know you Bucs, and I know you will be suc­cess­ful; you are from, af­ter all, from the is­land without palm trees.”

Do­mo­gauer left his fel­low se­niors with this quote from Mark Twain and fol­low­ing thought, “‘The se­cret of get­ting ahead, is get­ting started,’ and it is al­ways a great day to be a Buc­ca­neer.”

Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent An­thony Stam­pone shared his thanks as well. “I am proud of ev­ery­one sit­ting here in front of me,” Stam­pone said. “Time has flown by, and we dis­cov­ered high school is a place of learn­ing, not just aca­demic learn­ing, but self learn­ing.”

Salu­ta­to­ri­ans Macken­zie Poust and Yuan Wei also ad­dressed the se­niors and guests.

“We’ve bonded and our teams have be­come fam­ily. Life is about ex­pe­ri­ences, and we will con­tinue to de­velop the skills learned here at KI. We didn’t re­al­ize we were mak­ing mem­o­ries, we just knew we were hav­ing fun,” Poust said.

Wei noted the fi­nal­ity of the day, “This. This is the true end of high school to­day, June 2, 2016.” He said it had been a long, long ride for all of them, but felt a huge sense of ac­com­plish­ment that they had truly and fi­nally made it, ready hope­fully to face the chal­lenges of adult­hood ahead. Bor­row­ing a line from Han Solo, “Never tell me the odds,” Wei quipped.

Class Vale­dic­to­rian Melissa Judge re­counted fond mem­o­ries of se­nior year: at­tempt­ing to dance to elec­tric county mu­sic at the Amer­i­can Le­gion dur­ing prom, the home­com­ing pa­rade, the cre­ation of the eques­trian and sail­ing teams and se­nior cook­out in the park­ing lot.

“Some of my great­est mem­o­ries have come from KIHS,” Judge said. “We’ve made new friends and to­gether we’ve grown. Stay hum­ble and kind.”

Fi­nally, it was al­most time for the class to re­ceive their long-awaited diplo­mas, but Schre­con­gost had one fi­nal mes­sage for the se­niors. This was a class rich in ap­ti­tude and tal­ent, Schre­con­gost said, one that was de­fined by mu­tual trust.

“The role of a high school prin­ci­pal is not al­ways an easy one; you never know what the day might bring,” he said, not­ing that the 2015-16 school year had held some in­ter­est­ing chal­lenges in­clud­ing an evac­u­a­tion of the en­tire building early in the school year.

“You, you al­lowed me to speak to you dur­ing that event, without yelling to be heard, without ben­e­fit of a mi­cro­phone. You led your fel­low un­der­class­men with per­fect per­for­mance,” he told the se­niors.

He con­tin­ued, “I have said a school does what it’s se­nior class does. Time and time again, you provided an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple to fol­low. [I was able to say] I trust you, our se­niors will lead and do ex­actly what I ask them to do. There aren’t many prin­ci­pals who can stand be­fore you and tell you the same thing.

“Your lead­er­ship, per­for­mance and trust you have earned has de­fined the cul­ture of our school,” he said. “We over­come. We suc­ceed. You have the char­ac­ter and lead­er­ship to suc­ceed. I ap­pre­ci­ate you. I thank you, and we can say at KIHS we have a cul­ture of suc­cess.”

Be­fore the mem­ber of the Class of 2016 turned their tas­sels, School Board Pres­i­dent Jennifer Ge­orge told then she had cer­ti­fied their diplo­mas.

“This cer­ti­fies that the diplo­mas you have re­ceived meet the re­quire­ments of the State of Mary­land and Queen Anne’s County,” said Ge­orge, “I wish you all a very bright future.”

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

Grad­u­at­ing se­niors Caitlin Besche, Ste­fan Bur­goyne, Sha­ni­aya Cur­tis, Kevin Hedge­man, Ken­neth Leonard, Alissa Roberts, and Lily Spik, har­mo­nized as they sang a mov­ing and beau­ti­ful ren­di­tion of “The Star Span­gled Ban­ner” to open the 18th com­mence­ment cer­e­mony at KIHS, Thurs­day evening, June 2.

PHOTOS BY DOUG BISHOP

From the left, KIHS grad­u­at­ing se­nior stu­dent speak­ers: Vale­dic­to­rian Melissa Judge, Salu­ta­to­ri­ans Yuan Wei and Macken­zie Poust, SGA Pres­i­dent An­thony Stam­pone and 2016 Class Pres­i­dent Ryan Do­mo­gauer. Behind them at the podium, Prin­ci­pal John Schre­con­gost pre­pares to make open­ing re­marks.

Lead­ing the grad­u­at­ing se­niors into the foot­ball sta­dium, Thurs­day evening, June 2, from the left, Sofiah Ali and Ste­fan Bur­goyne. KIHS had just over 290 grad­u­ates for 2016.

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