Wishing farewell to the class of 2022

Ben Choucroun

In the sweltering 89 degree weather, the class of 2022 graduated from Redwood High School on June 9 at the Kreitzberg Amphitheater. Thousands of family members, teachers and students attended the event to wish farewell to the graduating seniors. 

Senior Gavin Green, the Associated Student Body President gave the first speech of the afternoon. Green reflected on how special the class of 2022 was, noting the unique characteristics that his classmates had to offer. After Valedictorian Lauren Duncan’s speech, another senior, Caroline Lewis took the stage, reflecting on how the class of 2022 would go on to better the planet.

 “One thing that I know without a doubt is every senior will change the world in whatever way, because we are Giants!” Lewis said in her speech.

Seniors run up the hill to the amphitheater as graduation begins. (Photo by Arjun Aujla)

Senior Helena Janku also gave a speech, named “The Finish Line.” She compared her high school experience to running a mile, with each lap around the track having a corresponding year in high school. 

“During the first lap around the track, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But over time, each person falls into the rhythm of their own stride. In both high school and in racing, it’s impossible to anticipate when things go wrong,” Janku said. “A side cramp around 800 meters, or a global pandemic in your second semester of sophomore year. Despite losing so much, the class of 2022 began our final lap with an arsenal of lessons learned the hard way.” 

Collecting her diploma, Morgan Moseley walks across the amphitheater. (Photo by Arjun Aujla)

The highly anticipated distribution of diplomas commenced soon after. Students from the class of 2022 walked out to teacher Stephen Hart and counselor Ian Scott to receive their diploma.

 One important moment came when Hart reached the “Ks.” The senior class clapped loudly for Myles Kawashima, a senior who passed away in a tragic boating accident in July of 2021. Senior Katherine Berkowitz, who will be attending Cal State Fullerton next year, found this a meaningful moment of recognition.

“[My favorite part of the event was] when they called out Myles’ name and everyone stood up and clapped. It was very heartfelt and sentimental. Everyone participated in remembering him, and that is something that should live on,” Berkowitz said.  

Redwood High School also said goodbye to principal David Sondheim, who ended his 11 year career at Redwood this year. Sondheim’s departure was filled with a deafening round of applause from seniors and the audience alike.  

After graduation, Senior Isabella Lonning, who will be attending UCLA next year, reflected on the excitement of the event. 

“I thought the ceremony went really well, and it was nice to see everyone one last time. I liked the people singing, and all of the student speeches because it was more personal–I knew everyone who was speaking and singing. It was nice to see people do what they’re good at,” Lonning said.

Throwing their caps in the air, the class of 2022 celebrates graduation. (Photo by Arjun Aujla)

It wasn’t just seniors and their families who went to graduation. The event reached all grade levels of the Redwood student body, including rising sophomore Emily Hitchcock. 

“It’s really inspirational to watch people graduate and move on with their lives,” Hitchcock said. 

Hitchcock attended graduation previously and observed the differences between this year’s graduation and previous years. 

“We pulled up to [my brother’s] graduation in cars, so it’s a big difference that we’re all in person now,” Hitchcock said.

Two years ago in 2020, families attended graduation through their automobiles. The following year in 2021, the threat of COVID-19 still impacted the organization of graduation, as it was held socially distanced on the football field. 

It is fitting that the class of 2022, who have also faced adversity in several ways due to COVID-19 and distance learning, has a more normal conclusion to their high school experience.