Some 380 Bartow High School, Bartow High International Baccalaureate and Summerlin Academy seniors took their last walk as seniors Tuesday at the joint graduation ceremonies held at The Lakeland Center.
Thousands of family members, friends and relatives filled The Lakeland Center arena to see their seniors transition from high-schoolers as they paraded across the stage to receive their diplomas from BHS Principal Emilean Clemons, IB Principal Edwin Vetter and Summerlin Principal and Commandant Stephen Cochran.
Master of Ceremonies Lloyd Harris introduced the six top graduates of the three schools-within-a-school as salutatorians and valedictorians. Those students taking home the top honors in their classes were: BHS, salutatorian Hailey Palmer, valedictorian Andrew Mulville; Bartow IB, salutatorian Shefali Patel, valedictorian Youlei Li; and Summerlin Academy salutatorian Javier Dominguez and valedictorian Krishan Rajaratnam.
Welcoming the full house to the ceremonies was Senior Class President Victoria Taylor who was followed by the invocation delivered by Phillip Schoch.
Bartow High School’s Golden Voices offered a rendition of “Shining Star” which was followed by the national anthem performed by the BHS band.
During her welcome, Taylor called her BHS student years “the time of your life” and maintained that the class of 2014 was the “best BHS, BHIB and Summerlin Academy will ever see.”
Palmer maintained that high school at BHS was “the best of times and the worst of times” and Patel said BHS IB “was difficult, yes,” adding that “we all found a forever family here” and “are ready to take what we’ve learned here and take the world by storm.”
Dominguez reminded his fellow Summerlin students that “we’ve learned what honor and leadership are along with the core skills that we need to follow our dreams with determination.”
BHS valedictorian Mulville told the assembly he had “learned I’m not the only one on this planet” and “that helping others is what makes it all worthwhile.”
Li said he learned that growing up was “like riding a bus. People get on and off and its up to us to enjoy the ride.” He also said the graduates should “experiment in the future. Try new hobbies and classes and ultimately follow your dream. You can do it.”
Rajaratnam of Summerlin Academy said, “This is the commencement of our adult lives. Where we’ll go and what we’ll do is unpredictable, but we have learned how to excel. We have to take our past, our present and build our future.”
The brief salutatorian and valedictorian addresses were followed by the BHS band’s soulful rendition of Wagner’s “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral” and a rousing rendition of the BHS alma mater.
Following the band presentations, the graduates were individually announced and each marched from the arena center across the stage to receive their diplomas from the principal of their school.
Bartow High School had 65 seniors graduating with high honors and 36 with honors. The BHS IB had 36 seniors graduating with high honors while Summerlin Academy had 21 seniors presented with high honors and 16 with honors.
This was the121st Bartow High School graduating class, the 16th BHS IB class and the eighth graduating class from Summerlin Academy.