The class of 2019 at Taft 7-12 High School is off to bigger and better after Saturday’s graduation. But the legacy they leave behind will be long lasting in the eyes of many in the Taft community.
On June 8, Taft High grads crossed the stage to receive their diplomas at the 2019 commencement ceremony. In a class filled with academic and athletic all-stars, future military men and women and hard workers, Taft Principal Nick Lupo was honored to see this class develop over the years. When Lupo accepted the position as Principal of Taft 7-12, this class was in 7th grade, meaning he has spent six years with this group, watching them grow.
“I’m excited to celebrate the success of the students I started with six years ago,” Lupo said. “I’m so proud of all of you, and very grateful to be a part of your senior journey this year.”
After Lupo’s opening speech, he was joined at the podium by class presidents David Jin and Maleah Smith. The pair gave a joint speech that highlighted some of their favorite high school memories and exemplified what made the class of 2019 such a tight knit group. Although they acknowledged that graduating is a bittersweet moment, ultimately, everyone is excited to start a new chapter in life.
“Who knew that a day like this would actually come, and we would have to part ways with our childhood friends,” Jin said. “But this is a celebration after all! The relationships I have formed with this group is something I will always remember.”
After everyone had a chance to reminisce over the experiences during the past four years, Valedictorian Mad Scott took the stage to deliver a heartfelt speech about his time at Taft and his love for his hometown.
“Though a small town can have its flaws, Lincoln City possesses a community that shares relationships with our students and has the ability to make a positive difference in our students’ lives,” Scott said. “The relationships that I have built at Taft High School with the passionate and hard-working teachers have helped me acquire the knowledge I wish to apply in my future career path of business.
"The teachers at our school are individuals who have expressive teaching styles and are willing to find what a student has an affinity to do when they get older. We are truly blessed to be able to go to a school where new innovations and technologies are at our fingertips every couple of years.”
Scott thanked his teachers for not only allowing him to grow as a student, but as a person as well. But more importantly, he thanked those people that were there from the beginning for this year’s grads: the parents.
“It is important that we recognize our parents today and we thank them for all that they have done for us,” Scott said. “Our parents will always be there for us as we continue our journeys, whether it is close to home or far away. The bond of love will never be separated by distance and will always be kept by one another.”
Scott also spoke on obtaining success and dealing with stereotypes. For him, Scott proved that you can be a dedicated skateboarder and still thrive as a student in the classroom.
“All of our backgrounds vary greatly from one another in our occupations, religions and hobbies,” Scott said. “But in hindsight this difference has no hindrance of what we can achieve when we put our minds towards obtaining our goals.
“During these times we must do the things we love and participate in what makes us the individuals we are. High school is usually a one-round go of four years of experience that has impacted many of our lives in positive ways.”