From Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road”
Montezuma-Cortez High School teacher Christopher Kelly encouraged graduates to strive for excellence as he delivered the commencement address at Panther Stadium on Thursday, May 21.
“Class of 2015, never settle,” said Kelly, a social studies teacher. “Never be boring. Continue to burn, burn, burn like stars in the sky. You are great. You are awesome. Congratulations.”
A total of 140 M-CHS seniors received their diplomas. Of those graduates, two were International Thespians, 12 were members of the National Honor Society, one was a two-time state wrestling champion and three opted to defend the nation by joining the U.S. armed forces.
“Our class is stacked,” said salutatorian Jonathan Walck, winner of the prestigious Gates Scholarship. He will attend Stanford University in the fall.
With ominous storm clouds billowing, a standing room-only crowd of proud parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces, nephews and close friends gathered. Steps outside the stadium’s north gate, James and Cindy of Tucson, Ariz., stood anxiously waiting to greet graduate Waynoka Whiteskunk. The couple had traveled 10 hours, one-way, to witness the ceremony.
“We wouldn’t have missed it,” said Cindy, holding a gift box, card and bouquet of roses.
“The drive shows it,” James added with a smile.
As the pomp and circumstance closed, valedictorian Haley Nadone challenged her classmates to be the ones that make a difference in the world, adding any one of them could help end poverty, war, racism and even cancer.
“The only way that humanity is going to improve is through us,” said Nadone, who plans to attend Georgia Tech. “It will not change by complaining to each other.”
The 2015 class was the 106th to graduate from the Montezuma-Cortez High School. Their class song was “American Kids” by Kenney Chesney, and the class motto was, “Spend a little more time to make something of yourself and a little less time trying to impress people,” from the 1980s film “The Breakfast Club.”