Highlands School celebrates graduating Class of 2019

Highlands School Class of 2019 accepted their diplomas on May 25, but before doing so they gathered at Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park and opened time capsules that were packed away when they were in 5th-grade.

The graduating Class of 2019 gathered at Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park to open time capsules put away since 5th-grade.

Early Childhood Teacher Tracy Hedden helped begin the tradition back in 1999 having 5th-graders pack items of importance into a shoebox to be opened when they’re seniors.

“Looking back at what was important back then and what’s important now is really different,” said graduate Mattson Gates. “But it’s fun seeing what we were in to.”

Included in each time capsule is a letter to each student’s future-senior self. Graduate Hannah Holt gave herself three pieces of advice; don’t be goth, don’t do drugs, and have a bright future.

Betty Garcia shows a photo in the newspaper taken when she was in 5th-grade.

Graduate Betty Garcia said her priorities have remained the same.

“I haven’t changed too much,” said Garcia. “I love my family and friends and that’s what’s important. I did tell myself not to talk too much, which is surprising because I didn’t talk much back then.”

Graduate Caden Smolarski said his 5th-grade self was very concerned with where he would play sports, and what sports they may be.

“Back then it was all about sports,” said Smolarski. “I’m asking myself if I’ll make LSU baseball or football.”

Graduate Abby Olvera said a lot has changed now compared to her 5th-grade concerns.

“Apparently my main worries were; will I have friends, will I have the same friends my whole life, and will anyone I know move away.”

Olvera added that it was emotional sitting at Founders next to those in her graduating class.

“It’s bittersweet,” she said. “Obviously it’s sad, but it’s time to move on and go see the world.”

Graduate Drew Chalker said he hasn’t changed all that much from his 5th-grade self.

“Nothing is really different, sports and friends are up there on the list,” said Chalker. “But I was a strong Blue Jays (Toronto) fan.”

Senior Parade and time capsules:

Preparing for Graduation Ceremony:

Graduation Ceremony 2019:

Pictured are Toby Barnes, Jake Billingsley, John Brooks, Tristan Castro, Selwyn Chalker, John Collins, Grace Crowe, Jesus Damian Clemente, Freddie Garcia Lopez, Perla Garcia Montano, Ronald Gates, Destin Gearhart, Samuel Hawkins, Hannah Holt, Logan Houston, Joshua Kennedy, Katie McCall, Katy Munoz, Abigail Olvera, Alexandra Pokora, Nicholas Pokora, Nicholas Ridge, Rylee Rivers, William Shearl, Caden Smolarsky, Chase Sullivan, Carson Talbert, Maria Tapia Valerio, Yeynor Vasquez Cerrato, Michael Zachary and mascots 1st-graders Todd Vilardo and Corena Dearth. Photo by Kim lewicki, Highlands Newspaper

Pastor Jeremy Dooley gave the Commencement Address at Highlands School graduation on May 25.

Valedictorian Jesus Damian-Clemente delivered the farewell address during the graduation ceremony.

Salutatorian Grace Crowe welcomed those in attendance at Highlands 2019 graduation ceremony.

Garrett Sayger sand “I’ll Always Remember You” at Highlands graduation ceremony.

From left are Junior Marshals Jeslyn Head and Kedra McCall at Highlands graduation ceremony.

From left are graduates Logan Houston, Drew Chalker, Destin Gearhart, Jake Billingsley, and Carson Talbert after graduating from Highlands School.

Graduate Hannah Holt waits to have her tassle changed over,

Graduates celebrate by tossing their mortarboards in the air after the ceremony.

Article and Photos by Brian O’Shea
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