It was a familiar theme, along with school pride, that cut across the speeches of the commencement program. Speakers included senior class president Jacquelyn Macias, MC Laura Barton, co-valedictorians Alexandra Briski and Emery Reyna, principal Ernest Remillard and San Diego Unified School District Board Trustee Dr. John Lee Evans.
“We finally achieved the most important goal – graduation,” said Barton during opening remarks.
Macias noted the Class of '17 began as “a mass of individuals trying to find our way,” and ended with “memories of special friends that will stay in our hearts forever. We are, and always will be, Mission Bay Buccaneers.”
Briski and Reyna, who shared valedictorian honors as well as a 4.55 grade point average, were brief – but pointed – in their remarks.
“I've never particularly liked endings, the last day of vacation, or the last chapter of a great book,” Briski confessed, adding, “Today we leave behind friends and teachers who have truly influenced our lives forever.”
Briski said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed the past four years at Mission Bay High School. With each new page, new understanding. With each new chapter, new growth in our lives.”
Briski concluded, “We've reached the end of this speech, and of high school. Go Bucs. Go Bears.”
In her speech, Reyna praised the athletic accomplishments of MBHS, which she noted included “a fledgling (women's) lacrosse team that won a CIF championship,” and an internationally renowned music program.
Reyna invoked the wisdom of Einstein who said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
“Some of us are fish that are meant to swim,” noted Reyna. “I'm proud to be recognized as valedictorian, and proud, though I'm not able to climb trees, to do what I'm truly designed for. This chapter in my life is close to an end. I will now have the freedom to explore what I am inspired to be.”
Remillard praised the Class of '17 noting, “I am confident that they will do amazing things in the real world. You have raised the bar for future Mission Bay graduates.”
But Remillard cautioned students saying, “Your journey isn't over. My challenge to the Class of 2017 is going to remain in place: Continue to work hard, challenge yourself as opportunities come your way.”
In closing, MBHS's principal exhorted graduates to “always be respectful, appreciate your life experiences.”
Remillard closed with, “Go Bucs.”
SDUSD trustee Evans read a statement in Spanish then translated. “There is not one way,” he said. “You make your way as you begin walking. Some of you know exactly what you are going to do. Others of you have absolutely no idea. And others are in-between. That's all ok, because this is the beginning of your journey starting here today.”