Presentation of a Graduating Class
by DAN ZANG
Principal, Rockford High School
Rockford High School (RHS) recently celebrated our 2011 commencement ceremony. The class of 2011 is a tremendous group of young men and women who now move on to spread their wings. Below you will find excerpts from this year’s graduation speech:
It is, with great honor that I present to you the Rockford High School graduating class of 2011. This class is composed of 590 graduates that have achieved great success in their time at Rockford High School. They have excelled first and foremost in the classroom. They have also excelled in fine arts, community service, and co-curricular activities. Their achievements and actions have made their parents, teachers, school and community very proud.
To the parents here this evening: Congratulations on a job well done! As I look over this group of graduates one last time, I am so very proud of their many accomplishments. I can only imagine the pride and joy that you are feeling right now. An interesting fact to share with each and every one of you tonight is that our graduates were born in the year that we opened Rockford High School in its current location. On behalf of the staff at Rockford High School and Rockford Public Schools, thank you for allowing us the opportunity to work with your children. Rockford Public Schools’ success is directly attributed to the tremendous parent support we receive in its varying forms. We are proud to share this milestone with you parents; it has been a joy and pleasure to work with your children.
To the graduates: In a short while you will exit this arena one last time as a Rockford High School senior. As you sit here waiting in great anticipation of walking across this stage, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate each and every one of you on a job well done. Each and every one of you has a story and a journey as to how you got here. We celebrate the fact that you have arrived and have accomplished. We know your story is only just beginning.
Understand that the world you are facing is ever changing, interesting, and full of opportunities. Be sure that you continue to seek knowledge; your quest for knowledge will always come to your favor in life’s journey. Find your joy in this world and fly!
The class of 2011 will be remembered by many by your leadership. You were tremendous leaders in the classroom. Your academic success ranks right up there with the many fine graduating classes of Rockford High School. You were a class with many diverse talents and, as a group, so very well rounded. You were also the first class in Michigan to meet the state’s mandated Michigan Merit Curriculum. You not only met this state expectation; you exceeded with great determination in your perseverance for individual excellence. This example is indicative of what I feel is another great attribute of this class. The Merit Curriculum standards were beyond your control and yet you reacted and flourished. You will encounter more experiences in life that will present you new challenges and I fully expect that you will rise and endure as you meet future challenges.
Your commitment to community service was outstanding as well. Your combined helping hands assisted our schools in Rockford, our community, Grand Rapids, other areas of Kent County and the world. Our blood drive numbers were incredible—your gift of life has reached many unknown recipients. My friends from this class that made the journey to New York City and performed in Carnegie Hall, I thank you for a wonderful experience. I was so proud to be associated with you! Your vocal performance was stunning, your demeanor and the way you represented yourselves, your families, our high school and community will long be remembered.
From this day forth you will go on to make your mark in this world. As you do so, please know that Rockford High School will welcome you back and we would love to hear of your many great accomplishments. At the time you come back to school soon to pick up your formal diploma, we will also provide you with a lapel pin in appreciation of your time at Rockford Public Schools. May your stories and successes inspire future generations. You are, and always will be, a ROCKFORD RAM.
The legacy of this class has yet to be settled. Your talent, potential, passion and awareness of others reassures me that great things will happen. Always remember to take care of yourself and those around you. Congratulations, seniors! It was indeed a pleasure!