Seniors sign out

Class of 2023 celebrates graduation

Anya Panday and Crystal Diaz

As the end of the year approaches, many anticipated end-of-year events are occurring — prom, final concerts and lastly, graduation. On June 6, Park had yet another successful graduation ceremony to see the class of 23’ off.

Graduation is always planned by Park’s administration. According to principal LaNisha Paddock, the administrative team starts planning graduation a year in advance.

“Graduation is actually something that is a year round planning,” Paddock said. “So we started planning this particular graduation for the class of 2023, (in) June 2022. We just keep coming back together to make sure that it’s an experience that’s very student centric.”

Social studies teacher Jill Merkle said she enjoys all of graduation, but she especially appreciates seeing the students use their voices.

“I love it all. But, I would say the students’ speeches are really fun,” Merkle said. “Seeing the kids before actually graduating is a really good time. I just love how their voices are centered as opposed to having someone else talk, just having students and having a lot of different students.”

Additionally, Paddock said she enjoys the student-run aspect of graduation above all.

“The student centric part is my favorite,” Paddock said. “It’s really important to me that when we’re celebrating the end of a momentous time for students, that they’re the ones that are leading that and celebrating with each other.”

Senior Reem Elbassal said she’s grateful for her graduation experience because of the anticipation for the event and the chance to say goodbye.

“I feel amazing, I’ve been looking forward to this for so long and looking around and just knowing I’m not gonna see these people again is so heartwarming,”  Elbassal said.

Merkle expresses how much of a big achievement graduation is. 

“(Graduation is) just like a huge step in a different direction. It’s an accomplishment and it is something they’ve worked so hard for their whole lives,” Merkle said

Embassal said her advice to underclassmen, she said to admire the moments you are in throughout highschool. 

“I would tell underclassmen to cherish all of your memories you have throughout your four years,” Elbassal said.

Paddock said this is a new beginning for the seniors and she is excited to witness these outstanding seniors use the skills they’ve built to be used in the real world. 

“It’s time for a new chapter,” Paddock said. “It’s sending our young adults off into the world to just live out their brilliance and be their authentic selves and be agents of change and leaders.”