Berthoud grads embrace high school memories

By John Gardner
The Surveyor

Co-valedictorians Jonathan Schlagel, left, and Sydney Levy give their speech to the graduating class. John Gardner / The Surveyor

Co-valedictorians Jonathan Schlagel, left, and Sydney Levy give their speech to the graduating class.
John Gardner / The Surveyor

If you ask Berthoud High School co-valedictorians Sydney Levy and Jonathan Schlagel what they did in high school they’ll likely tell you that they did “stuff.”

“So here we are. Four years of stuff shared together all set to conclude in one final ceremony, and this is that ceremony,” Levy said during his commencement speech.

As the rain clouds parted and the sun warmed the crowds at Max Marr Field at BHS on Saturday, May 23, 144 graduates added more “stuff” to their high school experience as they received their diplomas.

The class of 2015 included two Boettcher scholarship and two Daniels scholarship recipients among many students who received $4.3 million in scholarships. The class also had 15 students who graduated with a grade-point average of 4.0 or higher, 20 students who received Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program honors, 21 students who graduated with National Honor Society honors, and 23 students who graduated as Academic Challenge Honors Scholars.

“Seniors, this is about it; this is your high point as far as high school goes,” said BHS Principal Chris Garcia. “Everybody out there is super proud of you; your family, grandparents – all of us.”

Thompson School District Superintendent Dr. Stan Scheer addressed the graduates and gave them some words of wisdom; more “stuff” to take with them as they go. He encouraged them to keep reaching for their goals and to always enjoy the ride that awaits each and every one of them.

“There’s a future out there waiting for you. But I promise you, it’s more complex than you might imagine right now,” Scheer said. “Strap yourself in good for the ride of your life.”

BHS’ Ann Gonzales was the commencement keynote speaker. She sent the students a more political message by giving each of the graduates a goody bag that included a box of candy hearts and a voter registration card.

“We are so lucky to live in a country where our voice is our birthright,” Gonzales told the students. “I encourage all of you to register to vote if you have not done so. Exercise your birthright. You will have opportunities to vote in elections every year of your life, starting this November; never miss that opportunity.”

In contrast to Gonzales’ serious message, she also had another message for her students to always remember that wherever they go in life, the Berthoud community will always be there supporting them.

Salutatorian Sage Bowman reads the graduates' names during the presentation of the diplomas on May 23.  John Gardner / The Surveyor

Salutatorian Sage Bowman reads the graduates’ names during the presentation of the diplomas on May 23.
John Gardner / The Surveyor

“You are so very loved. Look at those people in the stands. Look at your teachers. Look at your fellow peeps,” Gonzales said. “That’s right, there is pride, joy and, most assuredly, love. And truly there is a love that surpasses all understanding on which you can lean in good times and in the hard times.”

More “stuff” for the graduates to take with them along their journey.

When it came time for Levy and Schlagel to address the crowd, there had already been enough wisdom spoken that they decided to reminisce about their time in high school and recognize students for their achievements.

“Many of us have risen to massive challenges and overcome great odds without any recognition,” Schlagel said. “We only wish that we could recognize you today.”

Each graduate is unique and has different passions and pursuits, they said, with different interests that split individuals in to cliques. However, it was BHS and its staff that gave the class of 2015 a common experience to call their own. Those experiences are the “stuff” that binds the graduates together.

“Some of you might throw that stuff in the trash, and that might be the healthy thing to do,” Levy said.

“But stuff isn’t always a bad thing,” added Schlagel. “Some of you might frame it and hang it on the wall. Others might take it and form a tool to use at a future job.”

But for Levy that “stuff” is the memories from BHS that he doesn’t want to forget.

“I’m going to take it, smush it into a ball that fits into my pocket and carry it around with me so I never get bored,” Levy said.

“For me,” Schlagel added, “School is like shoes; I will always wear the skills I learned and it will take me where I want to go.”

Color-Guard-2
The Berthoud High School color guard presents the flags to start the graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 23.
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