Seahawks Take Flight

Seahawks Take Flight

Over 500 students graduated from South Lakes High School Wednesday, June 18.

South Lakes graduates toss their caps as family, friends and teachers cheer them on Wednesday, June 18.

South Lakes graduates toss their caps as family, friends and teachers cheer them on Wednesday, June 18. Photo by Emma Harris/The Connection

In their signature royal blue caps and gowns and Kelly green sashes, over 500 South Lakes High School seniors crossed the Patriot Center stage and joined the ranks of high school graduates Wednesday, June 18: 114 seniors were “Honor Graduates,” meaning that they had a cumulative grade point average of 4.0 or higher, according to Kimberly Retzer, principal of South Lakes High School. Many graduates also earned International Baccalaureate diplomas.

After processing in to “Pomp and Circumstance,” the graduates and their hundreds of family members, friends and teachers were addressed by the first speaker: Dana Walker, assistant principal of the Class of 2014.

“Let’s recall our first few weeks as freshman when many of us were tiny, scared, worried, quiet, clueless — yes, we truly started from the bottom, and now we are here,” Walker said, paraphrasing a popular song by Drake. “This class will be remembered as creative and bright, challenging, athletic, talented, and extremely unique,” he added.

The graduates are all headed in different directions, and they all come from different places, Walker said. Some will attend college, while others are entering the military or the workforce. Some graduates are the first in their families to graduate from high school or attend college, he said.


Megan DeSisti receives the Bruce Butler Leadership Award from South Lakes Principal Kimberly Retzer.

THE FIRST STUDENT SPEAKER, Melissa Thomas, spoke of the “everlasting family” that she felt a part of — the Seahawks community. She reflected on her first day of high school and the confusion and fear she battled with her friends and classmates, as well as how much she and her peers have grown since then. “Here we are,” she said. “We did it.”

Antonia Nagale, the second student speaker, began her speech with a selfie from the podium with her classmates behind her, sparking many laughs from the audience. “Well as I approached the podium today, I couldn’t help but think to myself, let me take a selfie,” she said. She went on to talk of the selfies from her past four years and the change they showed.

Comparing high school to “the toddler years,” Nagale spoke of how coloring inside the lines is no longer an expectation. “I hope you learned to be the kid who scribbles on the edges of the page, the one who is not afraid to create color outside the constraints of black and white,” she said to her classmates.

THE BRUCE BUTLER LEADERSHIP award was awarded by the faculty of South Lakes High School to Megan DeSisti for her outstanding scholarship, leadership and service. “Adjectives that describe Megan include bright, gracious, caring, talented, passionate and hardworking,” Retzer said, adding that counselors and teachers had recognized her acceptance of other students and work to “better the lives of those around her.”

An honor graduate and IB diploma candidate, DeSisti will be attending the University of Virginia in the fall. “Megan doesn’t do things halfway,” Retzer said. “It’s just not her style.”

As for the graduates’ future, “set your own unique course,” Walker said. “Have the confidence to be different. Celebrate your successes. Embrace your failures, and learn from them. Speak up for yourself and the voiceless. Look beyond yourself, and make good decisions … I see greatness in each one of you.”