The parting words SVHS seniors heard from their fellow grads

Posted on June 13, 2019 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Two members of the Sonoma Valley High School class of 2019 addressed their fellow graduates at the June 7 commencement ceremony. Here are their comments:


Jack Boydell, Salutatorian

Good evening administrators, faculty, family and friends,

And most importantly my fellow seniors, this is where our high school journey ends

Four years ago we stepped onto campus as wide-eyed freshman

Nervous and uncertain we had one ultimate question

What does it really mean when they say “it’s a great day to be a Dragon”?

With the answer being both simple and complex as you can imagine

Some of us discovered life-altering passions

While many others further existing interests with actions

Upon reflection, many of you seniors described your experience:

Adventurous, chaotic, confusing, and a major difference

A change in mindset, memorable, a roller coaster, and eventful

Others produced thoughts of it being boring, enlightening, an opportunity, and stressful

Rough, an everyday grind, a progression in character

These varied emotions will stay with us and surely be remembered here after

In our four years we’ve survived fires, endured tragedy, and embraced change,

But we’ve also won championships, created masterpieces, and even mimicked investing on a pretend New York stock exchange

Despite homecoming float mishaps with spray paint vandalism and a poorly placed solar panel

We took home four consecutive first place trophies for best float to put on our mantle  

The bond measure that passed promising athletic facilities galore, we would never regret

Low and behold, they still aren’t here yet

Putting all of that aside,

Let’s remember all the friendships we’ve made and take pride

Through all the ups and downs that high school is bound to be

Take a moment to reflect on each other and you will surely see

High school is much more than grades, tests, and the stress of that Senior Project,

It’s the relationships with teachers, mentors, and peers that will have a lasting effect

My closing thoughts, and I hope I don’t sound like I’m braggin’

I’m sure you’ll agree, that today “it’s a great day to be a Dragon!”

Now that I’ve finished I better be runnin’

But first let me introduce the Valedictorian, Trevor Griggs-Demmin

Thank you.

Meet the SVHS Students of the Year

Trevor Griggs-Demmi, Valedictorian

Congratulations to my fellow graduates in the remarkable class of 2019.

Our class is unique in that most of us were born in the months before and after 9/11. For our parents and guardians, the joy of life with a newborn was juxtaposed with terrifying and unfathomable events that felt all too close to home. I am sure that one reaction to 9/11 was for a parent to wish that they would never have to let go of their child.

But our parents and guardians chose to rise above the fear, to send us to pre-school, to sign us up for Little League, and to get on a plane again after that terrible disaster. Here we all are 18 years later – the graduating class of 2019. Just as our parents had to do, we are choosing to walk into the future with resilience and optimism.

As the baton is passed to our generation to tackle global problems that may seem insurmountable, we must rely on ambition, innovation, and collaboration. These qualities are crucial for success, in personal life or on a global scale. These qualities will help our generation create a world in which the events of our birth year are unimaginable.

To me, ambition is more than merely having big dreams. It requires detailed plans, a series of goals, and the self-confidence to turn a vision into a reality. Having been in class with many of you since kindergarten, I know that you all have amazing ideas and wishes. Pay no mind to the naysayers! Make your plan, take small steps, and surround yourself with people who believe in ambition and believe in you.

Innovation is the force that allowed us to conceive of electric cars, life-saving vaccines, and even walking on the moon. One overlooked aspect of innovation is the fact that countless failures inevitably precede any accomplishment. All of the world’s greatest – from Michael Jordan to Amelia Earhart to Albert Einstein to our very own Ms. Manchester – would tell you that failure is the very foundation of success. We need to take our determination, attach it to every new idea, and let the setbacks improve that very innovation.

Collaboration is a key element for success in our future. Whether it’s people behind the scenes or iconic pairings like Iron Man and Captain America, or Calvin and Hobbes, no impressive feat is completely singular. Aside from working together with people on your own team, you must be willing to reach across the aisle, whether that means religiously, politically, or even to the little brother who is beyond annoying. I have faith that our generation will be the one to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, the Right and the Left, and finally rid us of the labels that so polarize and paralyze our country. Collaboration allows us to not only improve our own ideas, but to see others in a new light.

Ambition, Innovation, and Collaboration.

Our class has these qualities in spades. I see it every day at Sonoma Valley High School. We are certainly known for tackling uncomfortable topics and we have not shied away from taking controversial stands (ask any administrator…) We often disagree, but appreciate each other more and more. We may not back down easily, but we have also proven that we can arrive at compromises.

And finally, a quick word to the people who got us here today. Parents and guardians, the kid who is driving you crazy with missing curfew, putting off assignments, and ignoring calls is the same kid who is not afraid to mount a protest at the high school, engage in a political debate, or even stand up to Mr. Knight’s outdated phone policy. We are this confident and courageous only because you showed us the way. You let go enough for us to make our own mistakes. So, parents and guardians – thank you for everything, and thank you to Sonoma Valley High School for giving us our wings.  


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