Class of 2019 Graduation

Before Graduation, the road leading up to the Convocation Center at James Madison University (JMU) was backed up with traffic made by the people who wanted to watch their children graduate. Once inside the Convocation Center, the band was playing music until the ceremony started at 10:00 am sharp.

The teachers walked out first, led by principal Cynthia Prieto, and were followed by our new superintendent Dr. Michael Richards. It was then time for the senior class to walk out, with the song “Pomp and Circumstance” playing in the background, met with loud applause by everyone in the convocation center. Once the seniors were situated, JROTC brought out the American and Virginian flags for the national anthem.

SCA President of 2019 and master of ceremony Margarita Hernandez Perez started off the speeches by giving the microphone over to Prieto, who recognized each and every one of the senior’s accomplishments. She did this by having the senior class stand when she said a situation that applied to them. Prieto then handed the mic over to new superintendent Richards who gave a brief speech about his month in the Harrisonburg school district. He then gave it over to assistant superintendent Pat Lintner to talk about his experiences with the class of 2019.

The honors choir was given the signal to start the graduation song “Bridge over Troubled Waters” by Paul Simon and Arranged by Kirby Shaw. The ensemble also included the graduating seniors at the time.

After the performance, senior class president Malak Bani-Hani gave the “In Retrospect” speech where she reminisced about her time in high school. The salutatorian, Hannah Lynn Miller, was next in the line of speeches. She talked about her preparation for writing this speech, the stories of the class of 2019, and words of encouragement about doing what you regretted not doing or doing in high school. The valedictorian, Gabriel Louis Poirot, was asked to speak next. Poirot spoke about a football game last year that HHS won with the help of their coach and how the seniors wouldn’t have gotten where they were now without the support of their teachers, administrators, parents, and friends. The last speaker to go up was the mayor of Harrisonburg, Deanna Reed, who talked about her experience at HHS. She graduated from HHS in 1984 and was one of 11 black students out of the 150 students that graduated in 1984. Reed also reminisced about the times with her favorite teacher at HHS.

Finally, it was time for the certification of diplomas and the presentation of the diplomas. All seniors were then announced and got to walk through the line of teachers and administrators. Everything was on schedule during the 125th commencement exercise until the fire alarm went off, abruptly stopping the ceremony during the P’s and giving spectators a scare when they were told to evacuate the building. Shortly after the fire alarm was deemed as a false alarm and everybody returned to their seats to resume the ceremony.