Graduates in the Class of 2023 reflected on their time together and looked to the future during their Commencement Ceremony at Alumni Field on June 9.
Embracing change was the theme of the evening, with district leaders telling the new graduates that their time in Northgate has prepared them to enter an ever-evolving world.
“We are at the point of facing the unknown, and that can be both exciting and frightening in one swift motion,” Grace Baldauff, class valedictorian, said in her commencement speech.
But Baldauff told her classmates, who were gathered together for one final time, that they were well-suited to face the challenges that await them post-graduation. She referenced their ability to overcome fear and uncertainty throughout their time in school, ranging from entering kindergarten classrooms for the first time to navigating through the coronavirus pandemic.
“There is no doubt in my mind that our futures are bright and obtainable,” she said. “We are more than capable, and that is evident in looking at all of you today. Class of 2023, everything you have worked for has led you to this moment. Do not take it for granted. Continue to work hard and accomplish the goals you sang about in kindergarten graduation, when the world was magical and full of opportunity.”
Salutatorian Henry Trevisan thanked the district’s teachers and counselors for preparing the Class for life after graduation.
“Without you, none of us would be here right now,” he said.
Trevisan told his peers that their journey is only just beginning.
“If we were to equate our lives to a baseball game, with an average lifespan of 80 years, we’re only in the second inning of our lives. Now, the Pirates would probably already be losing, but the point is there’s still a lot of ballgame left to play.”
Superintendent Dr. Caroline Johns spoke about the students’ ability to overcome disruptive changes, citing their perseverance through the coronavirus pandemic, and how that mindset will enable them to tackle future challenges in their lives — beginning with the quickly evolving world of artificial intelligence, robotics and automation.
While technological innovations will change and shape the world they are entering, Dr. Johns said it is still up to the Class to be the drivers of progress.
“It is undeniable these advancements will continue to shape our future, but we must never lose sight of the true essence of progress: the human element,” she said. “…While machines possess incredible computational power and efficiency, they lack the qualities that make us uniquely human: our empathy, creativity and adaptability. It is these very qualities that define us and enable us to envision a brighter future to bring about positive change.”
Dr. Nicole Smith, high school principal, echoed those remarks.
“As you prepare to leave this place, remember that the world will need your enthusiasm, your skills, your unique perspectives,” she told the Class. “I urge you to remember that graduation is not an end point, it is a starting line.”