The Paly Voice

Paly class of 2004 graduates

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Paly’s 387-student senior class of 2004 graduated yesterday afternoon at the Hod Ray football field in a ceremony full of inspirational speeches and musical performances.

Following a processional by the band and national anthem sung by Genevieve Yang, student body president Amy Rogg presented the welcome speech. Rogg said that "the Paly experience isn’t a typical one," referring to the stereotypical high school environment in which students are judged based on their clothing. Instead, she said that "we are accepting of others, committed to diversity…we are compromised of everything, and we are lucky to have this community."

Mayra Perez then proceeded to deliver the commencement address, in which she reflected on how her time at Paly transformed her initial "negative experience" into a positive one. "There are people at Paly willing to help, and I worked to achieve my goals," Perez said.

Senior class president Aaron Spolin shared with the audience his "three lessons" of life. First, he commented that "the best food variety is available at Town & Country Village [a shopping plaza across the street from the Paly campus]," demonstrating that the quickest or easiest option [buying food from the school cafeteria] is not always the best. Second, he applauded economics teacher Eric Bloom for being "a funny guy." According to Spolin, he has managed to integrate humor into teaching economics. Lastly, Spolin shared that "when a teacher says that your essay only needs to be long enough to make your point, they’re most likely right."

Spolin then presented the senior class gift, which will come in the form of benches and trees for the "Class of 2004 plaza" that is soon to replace the current science building set for demolition this summer. A new building has been built to the west of it, and students are expected to move into it in the fall. He estimates that the plaza decorations will be completed by the end of this year, and remarks that "it won’t bring anything new, but is a good way to say thanks."

Principal Sandra Pearson then presented Spolin with the Viking Award, an annual award granted to "a student has demonstrated scholarship, leadership, integrity, concern for others…is funny, dependable, well-liked, creative, and passionate," according to Pearson. Pearson remarked that Spolin’s work this year as class president has brought much to the school and community.

Diplomas were presented by deputy superintendent Robert Golton, assistant superintendent Marilyn Cook, and Board of Education president members Cathy Kroymann and Camille Townsend. The final acceptance was done by Kroymann.

Other musical performances highlighted the ceremonies and brought entertainment to the audience. The class song was "Ain’t No Mountain High Enough," an inspiring tune about reaching goals and aspirations. Christina Bellardo sung a vocal performance of "I Will Remember You." Bellardo was somewhat interrupted by a plane flying overhead which gained much of the crowd’s attention. A bright pink banner flew from the back reading, "Congrats Wes Gage! Love Mom, Dad, and Kiki!"

A saxophone and trumpet quintet comprised of Kalena Masching, Luke Li, David Stringer, Alex O’Konski, and Rohan Kshirsagar played a "jazz" version of Bach’s Fugue in G minor.

Reactions were typical among the graduates, as most claimed to be extremely glad. "It feels good; yeah, it feels so good," Antar Desa said. Desa’s comment proved to be reminiscent of the common Paly cheer, "we feel good, oh we feel so good, ah," which is regularly performed at most Paly assemblies and activities.

The graduates had all the more reason to "feel good" as snacks awaited them in the quad. After the informal reception, they boarded buses to the senior class party. Held on a ferry cruise circling around San Francisco Bay, they played games, ate, and danced the night away.

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