In congratulating the approximately 415 members of the Class of 2018, principal Hans Becker noted that one characteristic of the group was its voice, citing the students' rallies and outcry in support of gun control after recent school shootings.
Earlier in his speech, co-valedictorian Jonathan Omens spoke of a poster he saw in the classroom of popular history teacher Glenn Richard. It featured a photo of author Kurt Vonnegut and a quote: "True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country."
Omens admitted he was scared at this thought when he first saw the poster as an underclassman but now, in retrospect, he realized every high school class in history has made mistakes.
"We're all going to make mistakes but we can't let that be what defines our class," Omens said. "If we own our mistakes and come back from them even stronger then we have what it takes (voices) to be defined by our successes and not our failures."
Omens said he now feels confident in his classmates' ability to someday run the country.
For co-valedictorian Kyle Grady, it was a recent trip to India followed by traveling alone through 11 European countries that taught him the value of non-verbal communication. He often found himself in situations where he was unable to communicate (voices) with local people when, for instance, he was trying to locate a hostel for the night.
Grady said he learned the value of a smile in communicating with those he sought help from on the streets and in stores, a universal recipe for interacting with others.
The Class of 2018 is headed to universities from Hawaii to New Hampshire and has been awarded over $2 million in scholarships. Sixteen are attending SDSU, nine will go to UC San Diego, five will be at PLNU, six at CSU San Marcos. Six are entering local junior colleges and several are joining the armed services.
About 210 of the graduates were honor roll members, earning grade point averages of 3.3 or higher.
And yes, Jonathan, maybe you will wake up some morning and find members of this class are running the country.