Lindsay’s Class of 2019 focuses on the courage they needed to complete high school and the courage they’ll need moving forward
By Patrick Dillon
LINDSAY – A night filled with a lot of mixed emotions for the 247 graduates of Lindsay High School’s Class of 2019 had a light hearted beginning. Principal George Tapanes took out his cell phone during his welcome speech and took a couple selfies with his first graduating class of learners donning red and white gowns.
Afterward, the commencement ceremony continued with valedictorian Paige Layton and student speaker Chunting Zheng, who both spoke of courage.
Layton began by encouraging her classmates to think on the word, courage. She defined it as, the willingness to take a risk despite the chance of fear or failure. She brought to mind the courage of their parents when they dropped them off on their first days of school. The courage some families had to move from their homes with the hope of better educational opportunities. She emphasized that learning facilitators were courageous when they challenged students to strive for excellence, and to guide them to be the best. In sports, Layton noted that coaches were courageous when they built their team. Finally she noted that her fellow classmates had the courage to reach out, make new friends, and get involved in school pride.
“The courage we had as freshmen to walk through the gates to begin high school, and today the courage it took putting on our caps and gowns, knowing our lives are changing forever,” Layton said.
To Layton the word, courage, holds a special meaning. She moved from Illinois to California where she moved in with the Caesar family, and completed her education.
Layton challenged her classmates to remain courageous past their final night being a Cardinal. She told them to take courage with them, and to try new things, step out of their comfort zone, and be there for people who don’t have the courage they have come to master.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you are meant to be,” Layton said.
Zheng had to be courageous enough to move an ocean away from her home in Asia and land in the small town of Lindsay. A little over three years ago her and her family settled in Lindsay. She faced language barriers and cultural differences. She was forced to adjust to diverse customs and lifestyles she at first did not understand. Basically, she had to start from scratch.
“Of course, with the help of our learning facilitators and administration we have all learned something new that we can take with us to help us prosper,” Zheng said.
Lindsay High School has been a member of the CSF since 1921. In its 98th year of membership they had 16 learners receive the lifetime membership.
“I challenge you to dream big,” Learning Facilitator Joseph Trager said. “Do not let failure or mistakes define your life or drag you down.”