Class of 2014 graduates

Seniors from the Class of 2014 listen to speeches at the DHS track during their graduation ceremony.
Seniors from the Class of 2014 listen to speeches at the DHS track during their graduation ceremony.

By Skyler Blume, Staff–

Seniors, dressed in their school-blue caps and gowns, took their seats in preparation for graduation as the sun began to set on the last day of their careers at DHS.

After performances of traditional graduation music and the national anthem by the DHS bands and Madrigals choir, respectively, principal William Brown took the podium to address his students one last time.

In his words of advice to the outgoing class, he compared life to a well-balanced dinner, and encouraged the students to take care in preparing their courses that lay ahead.

Gina Daleiden, President of the Board of Education, then expressed how proud she was of the dedication and hard work that the students had put in. As a parent, she said, she wished only the best for all of the graduates.

Following Daleiden was DHS English teacher Eleanor Neagley, who won the vote of the Class of 2014 to give the keynote address on graduation day. Neagley came prepared with a speech that called upon her subject matter in American Literature and its overarching theme of the American dream.

From Huckleberry Finn, Neagley stressed the importance of morality and thinking as an individual. From The Old Man and the Sea, she spoke about perseverance and grace under pressure, and so on. The essence of each novel and what it says about living one’s life was conveyed to the graduates in Neagley’s speech.

Fellow English teacher Anthony Vasquez was impressed by Neagley’s address, and as another American Literature teacher, found its subject especially relevant.

“It was beautifully delivered,” Vasquez said. “It articulated all of the important lessons that I teach and what my students hopefully get from these novels.”

Vasquez thought that the standout moment of the speech was capturing how the lessons taught at DHS can be taken with the seniors as they move onto new things.

Several seniors addressed their fellow classmates. Rami Rashmawi, Alex Sprague and Senior Class President Sara Pinto all delivered messages of gratitude, pride and hope for the Class of 2014.

But it was La’Rell Cato’s humorous address that was the crowd-pleaser of the night. By telling anecdotes of a bike accident and of losing her position on the Lady Devils basketball team because of poor academic performance, Cato managed to both get the audience laughing as well as teach them the importance of perseverance.

Finally, after a performance by a collaboration of students under the direction of William Zinn and the presentation of diplomas, the seniors let loose their caps into the air, twice. It appears that the anticipation caused some of the seniors to throw their caps prematurely, but the spirit was still high on the second toss.

Sophie Meads, a graduating senior, had a bittersweet feeling during the ceremony but still enjoyed the proceedings.

“There are sad feelings,” Meads said, “but right now all that matters is that we did it; there will be a time for the other things later.”

Vasquez shared the mixed feelings as he called out names of seniors to receive their diplomas, some of whom he had as sophomores and has seen grow over three years at DHS.

“Each name brought back so many great memories,” Vasquez said, “but this is a necessary goodbye.”


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