AUBURN — Hundreds of people gathered Sunday night at Walton Elementary School to celebrate the start of a new chapter for Edward Little High School’s class of 2022.
Originally scheduled for Saturday evening, the event was moved to Sunday due to rain.
The ceremony was marked by fairytale-themed speeches and stunning musical performances by graduates, beginning with a touching compilation of images and videos from the Class of 2022.
Holding flowers, balloons and signs, families and friends eagerly awaited the moment their graduate – one of 204 – walked across the stage.
“Congratulations Lucia! Rent is due on the 15th,” read the sign of a pragmatic father.
During her farewell speech, Natalie Garcia urged her classmates to “enjoy the process of trying, even when we fail, even when we fail epically.”
The past four years have been about finding our “just the right amount,” Garcia said, comparing their journey to that of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”
In the story, a girl who walks around the house and tries on chairs, beds and porridge in search of her perfect fit.
“History never tells us if Goldilocks was concerned that a bed was too soft or a porridge was too hot, but I hope she enjoyed having the chance to try them all,” said Garcia. “Even though she hated that chair for being too soft, I hope she liked that she was able to move on and try some more.”
As pressure mounts for the Class of 2022 to find their way, Garcia said she’s unsure of her career direction or college major.
“Everyone’s ‘just rights’ shall be ours,” she said. “Our own failures and our own successes, and in our time.”
Just as Scheherazade tells one fantastic story after another in “One Thousand and One Nights,” a collection of Arabic folklore, each student of Edward Little has their own story, said salutatorian Simon Hall.
“Some of these stories might sound like Sinbad the Sailor, the traveling merchant who embarked on dangerous adventures across the oceans,” Hall said. “Like Sinbad, many of us encountered unimaginable horrors on the high seas during high school assignments, like a six-page assignment due tomorrow or a long math problem.”
But for others, homework may have been the least of their worries, he acknowledged.
One of the strengths of Edward Little High School is its ability to provide students with the space to chart their own path, he said.
“As we now graduate and look to the future,” Hall said, “we know we will continue to write stories as individual as we all are. Stories that will continue to fill the many pages blanks left in our books.
In her post-graduation speech, Mai Luu, the senior class president, drew a parallel with the story of “Little Red Riding Hood.”
“We are all about to start our new and different stories,” Luu said. “While we may have regrets or wish we had done some things differently, the ink has dried and we cannot change what has happened over the past four years. We can only move forward. But for now, let’s finish this story.
And on his word, all the graduates moved their tassels from right to left. The end of one story, the beginning of another.