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FREDERICK — With a salute to two fallen classmates and a certain amount of humor thrown in, Frederick High School’s class of 2014 received its diplomas May 24 on the school’s football field.
Samantha Rosales-Collins started her student commencement speech by taking a selfie. Faculty commencement speaker Jon Bassoff said the graduates “obviously scraped the bottom of the barrel” when they asked him to deliver the speech “and for that I’m extremely grateful. But asking me to deliver this sort of speech is like asking Miley Cyrus to give dancing lessons to senior citizens.”
There was a tribute to the late Jordan McMullen, complete with a release of purple balloons. The class also remembered Jesus Carmona, who died almost a year ago in a car crash in Weld County.
“In my 20 years of education, I’ve never felt more connected to a group of graduates,” FHS Principal Pete Vargas said. “You have every right to enjoy your success. As you move on to your new phase in life, all of us are very proud of you. There is more learning to take place. But for now, let’s enjoy what you have accomplished to this point.”
Rosales-Collins reminded her classmates that “from good judgment comes experience.”
“After we take our pass to the other side today, we are free to gain more experience, whether it’s in college, the workforce or the armed services,” she said. “With a happy life comes a guarantee that mistakes will be made.”
In her commencement speech, Sabrina Duey called her classmates “true warriors,” though not for reasons connected with a battlefield.
“I remember the first day of high school in the old building. I was so intimidated, I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “I, along with you, have developed into a different person. We have gone through so many experiences few others will be able to. Jordan impacted us in a profound way. I marveled at the fact that Jesus Carmona had so much talent and was so kind. We survived the floods last year.
“Individually, we fought battles,” she continued. “These were obstacles unexpectedly put in our place. We wanted to stay under our blankets. But eventually, we decided to channel that sadness into something stronger. We moved forward, and because of that, we are receiving our diplomas.”
At first, Bassoff thought some of the seniors should help deliver his address. But he decided that wasn’t such a good idea after he said graduate Lesley Quintana gave him this idea.
“She said, ‘Don’t have sex. You will all get pregnant. And die,’” Bassoff said.
Instead, Bassoff used his experiences as a published author to form the basis of his speech. He encouraged the graduates to “break out of the bubble and focus on experiencing things you don’t know so much about.”
Bassoff also told the graduates to not worry “about bad reviews.”
“People aren’t going to give you a great review. And that’s OK,” he said. “If you live to please everyone else, you risk losing your moral compass.”
Contact Steve Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org