Commencement ceremony held for Class of 2019
Gates Chili High School added 321 graduates to its alumni as the Class of 2019. Students walked the stage on June 26 as hundreds of family members, friends and faculty proudly watched at the Rochester Institute of Technology Field House.
After the Gates Chili High School Band played “Pomp and Circumstance” Melanie Luedetmoonsone, senior class vice president, welcomed everyone. Senior Class President Nyab Mesfun then introduced those on stage and Salutatorian Maya Charcholla.
Charcholla reflected on the string of events that led to the students to sharing their journeys together. She acknowledged that many parts of life have been decided for them, but now they are moving on and making their own choices.
“How are we supposed to decide what we want to do or where we want to go when we’ve never had a choice like this before?” said Charcholla. “Although it is scary, it is the one thing for certain that we have in common. We have no idea what we are doing. But we are going to not know together. And maybe it’s good we do not know for once.”
Valedictorian Danny Le then spoke about his 13 years as a Gates Chili CSD student including the friendship he and Charcholla built. He thanked teachers, friends and family for their impact on the Class of 2019 and ended with words of encouragement for his peers.
“I urge you to never lose sight of who you are as individuals as you begin to unlock your potential to succeed in the real world,” said Le. “Stay true to yourself and stay true to your own words, as your actions will undoubtedly speak for themselves. Don’t forget to love yourself and remember that you are always more than enough.
“But most of all, never forget the lessons you learned as you walked the halls of Gates Chili. Because once a Spartan, always a Spartan,” added Le.
The Gates Chili Advanced Women’s Choir, conducted by Emily Holmes, then sang “How Does a Moment Last Forever.” The Gates Chili Concert Choir, conducted by Jordan Klotz, sang “Take Me Home.”
High School Principal Kenneth Hammel then presented the class to the board of education.
Board of Education President Jeffrey Pettenski presented graduates with their diplomas and awards. Class Treasurer Danny Le introduced the senior class historian, Julia Quan, who gave the farewell address. Interim Superintendent Carol Stehm then announced the class of 2019 and the High School Band played “Procession of the Sardar” as they walked out.