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HANFORD — David Bowie once sang, “Changes — turn and face the strange” and facing the strange is exactly what the 2019 Hanford High School graduating class can look forward to.

Student speaker Ally Ryan emphasized the concept of change while addressing the graduating class as well as their families and faculty at the 125th annual commencement exercises Friday evening.

“The way change works is actually quite funny. Sometimes it’s obvious while other times, it’s minute.  Oftentimes, we’re so quickly moving through the motions of our busy lives that we forget that we are constantly changing,” she said.

Ryan pointed out that while the leap from high school to the next chapter in life — be it college, full-time work, the military or whatever else life holds — can seem daunting, it’s important to realize that the graduating class has been through a multitude of small yet equally important life changes in the four years it took to make it to this particular night.

The speaker mentioned a teacher told her that those who cannot embrace change “should at least give it a hug.” Moving from high school to adulthood will bring about changes that can seem terrifying but will also serve as a fresh start to a new beginning, she said to the hundreds gathered at the Jacob L. Neighbor Bowl on an uncharacteristically windy and chilly evening as the sun set one last time on the students’ high school experience.  

She advised the Hanford High School graduating class of 2019 to embrace the changes that will come their way and to be open to new opportunities. By doing so, she hopes the class of 2019 will be able to affect positive changes in their community and the world-at-large.

“We must go forward now with our memories and step courageously into the future and give our time at Hanford High School its final hug,” she concluded.

Senior class representative Juliana Evans acknowledged various students, organizations and faculty members by calling upon them to stand to during the ceremony to be recognized by those in attendance.

“To those students with the courage and valor to serve and protect our country,” she began before inviting students committed to join the armed forces to stand for applause. Those students were recognized with red, white and blue tassels.  

Also recognized were those in leadership programs including Future Farmers of America and members of the band, choir and sports teams, among other organizations and endeavors.

Finally, in a bit of levity among the pomp and circumstance, the entire graduating class was seemingly recognized when Evans concluded by calling on those who “stayed up all night working on homework after weeks of procrastination” and those who were “looking forward to not coming to school tomorrow” to stand.

In his address to the crowd before the tassels were symbolically shifted and the sky was lit up by fireworks, Principal Dr. Scott Pickle said that the graduating class all had one word in common — “resolve.”

After four years of hard work and remaining resolute in reaching their goal of graduation, Pickle reminded the students to “remember this moment” and to also remember with pride in the next chapter of their lives that “once a Bullpup, always a Bullpup.”

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Contact the reporter at pbowman@hanfordsentinel.com

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