Seats became hard to find May 20 as about 1,000 friends and family members gathered in the Englewood High School Field House to watch the commencement ceremony in which the 112 members of the Class of 2017 were presented their diplomas.
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The ceremony was held in the field house as a result of cold temperatures and snow on May 18 and 19.
Applause replaced the hum of conversation when members of the Englewood High School band played “Pomp and Circumstance” as faculty and the diploma candidates marched into the field house and took their seats.
Principal Ryan West gave a welcoming address. West took a moment to read a letter from one of the grandchildren of 1951 EHS graduate Jane Pope Stouder. Jane had the best grades in the class but because of tradition, one of the boys in the class was the valedictorian and she was salutatorian.
However, West said that should be corrected, so the Englewood School District prepared a certificate naming Jane Pope as honorary valedictorian of the Class of 1951. The certificate will be mailed to the grandchild who wrote the letter and who will present it to Pope, who is in her 80s and lives in California.
Later, soon-to-be grads Ashleigh Long, Marcus Lucero and Gabe Gravagno joined their voices, singing “I'll Be There For You” and classmates joined in on the chorus. Sam Westra gave a humorous speech and valedictorian Courtney Schauer spoke to the audience. She was followed to the podium by teacher Chris Kavinsky, who was selected by the members of the Class of 2017 to be the guest speaker for graduation.
After formalities, diplomas were awarded and hats were tossed into the air as friends and family came onto the floor of the field house to congratulate their graduates.
After quick hugs with friends, Ashleigh Long rushed to where her grandmother Donna Larsen was sitting to give her a hug.
“Grandma is very special to me and it is special that she is here today,” Long said.
Nearby graduate Rosa Ramirez added a special message to her cap that stated: “Proud daughter of immigrants.” She was joined by her dad Joel Ramirez and her mother Petra Banuelos, who both came to the United States from Mexico.
“This is a proud moment for me and for my parents,” Rosa said.
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