KINGSBURG - Tassels were turned and fireworks illuminated the sky as Kingsburg High graduates officially completed their four-year journeys at the 112th annual commencement ceremony at Vikings Stadium on Thursday.

Approximately 240 graduates were in the school’s 2019 graduating class. The 2019 class had a total of 42 valedictorians and one salutatorian, which was the most since 1995, according to activities director Doug Davis.

“It’s a high academic class,” Davis said. “It’s really filled with a bunch of leaders. It’s a special class.”

Before the ceremony began, the soon-to-be graduates were inside the Kingsburg High gym, straightening their caps - which were decorated for some - and leveling their sashes. Once it was time to begin the ceremony, the graduating Vikings made their into the field to the playing of “Pomp and Circumstance” performed by the KHS band. The graduates were seated facing a packed crowd on the home side of Vikings stadium.

Valedictorians Veronica Gordillo, Dilvir Sekhon, Zoya Sihota opened the ceremony by welcoming those in attendance with three separate speeches in english, spanish, and punjabi.

Class president Sydney Luttrell proceeded the ceremony with a prayer during the invocation.

Shareen Purewal, Karen Gong, Zoya Sihota, Emily Kozlowski, and Rylie Cornett were the graduates spoke during the ceremony. All five student speakers were valedictorians.

The first student speaker was Purewal, who talked about the unity and diversity of the 2019 class in her speech. She also thanked her parents and family for “being the biggest inspiration” in her life.

“I could not say there was a point in my life where I could’ve wanted to be at any other school besides here,” Purewal said at the podium. “This class truly holds a special place in my heart. Kingsburg High School holds a special place in my heart.”

Gong followed Purewal with a speech that reflected her time as a student at Kingsburg High, along with remembering the good times with friends and the stresses of homework.

“We made it here together with the support of a wonderful administration and a set of impossibly dedicated teachers,” Gong said during her time at the podium. “For your willingness to deal with us for two years and try to wrangle the senioritis out of us for another two, I thank you.”

Sihota proceeded Gong with a speech that encouraged her fellow classmates to pursue their passions and make the most of their futures.

“You should do what’s best for you and not feel any less accomplished than anyone else,” Sihota said during her speech. “Someone is always going to have something to say about you and your choices, but learn not give it the time of day. Focus on pursuing your passions.”

In between Purewal’s and Gong’s speeches, the class of 1969 was honored for it’s 50-year anniversary.

After the KHS senior choir serenaded the crowd with a performance of “Lean on Me,” Kozlowski spoke about her memories of the past four years, while also encouraging her peers to forge their own paths.

“We are all individuals with unique purposes,” Kozlowski said. “And now is our chance to go out and explore and find exactly where we belong.”

Cornett, the final student speaker, started her speech by thanking her parents, family, teachers, and peers to concluding her time on the podium by congratulating her fellow graduates on earning diplomas.

Shortly after class vice president Carley Ransom presented the class gift of a water bottle refill station in the school library, Kingsburg High principal Ryan Phelan presented the 2019 class, followed by school board president Johnie Thomsen accepting the graduating class to begin the awarding of diplomas.

Cheers were roaring from the crowd as each graduate’s name was announced to the attendees. Once the fireworks and the KHS band's performance of "The Green and The Gold" closed out the ceremony, the graduates were greeted by a large crowd of family and friends on the field.

“While the diploma is for Kingsburg High School, we’re not only celebrating the education that we received, but the people that we’ve become throughout this entire chapter of our lives,” Cornett said during her speech. “A chapter that is now somehow over with the time spent suddenly seeming way too fast.”

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Jeremiah Martinez can be reached at 559-583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com

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