121 graduates receive diplomas at Hill Auditorium on Friday, June 3
Story and photos by Jo Mathis/AAPS District News
As one of the most successful, longest-running alternative public high schools in the country, Community High School prides itself on its non-traditional style.
So why should its Commencement be any different?
Amidst rousing performances by the Community Jazz Band—one of which had the crowd dancing at their seats—each of the 121 graduates gathered Friday night at Hill Auditorium was invited to say a few parting words.
Graduates took the stage with their forum leaders, who held the microphone as students had 30 seconds each to thank teachers, parents, grandparents, and friends for their support, read a line of poetry or reflect on how the school helped them grow.
“Community is a place that celebrates individuality and togetherness, with teachers that want their students to succeed,” said Sylvie Swerdlow. “I fought to be here today, against my body and my brain, and this is truly a victory. Everyone here, you deserve to feel victorious. Everyone here deserves to be loved. I am so excited for the next step in life’s journey. Lave and success to all!”
Community High School Dean Marci Tuzinsky thanked the graduates for coming to Community High and sharing their talents, personalities, and caring natures.
“I’ve enjoyed watching you all grow up into these amazing human beings that you’ve become. And I’ve enjoyed learning and growing along with you. We sure hope we’ve prepared you for a happy, successful, and fulfilling life. And remember you get to define what it means to be successful.”
Superintendent Jeanice Swift read from the poem “ by Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history:
In this truth
in this faith we trust
For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
Awards were given to the following students:
The Jill Award “for making Community High School a better place” went to RayLonda Dukes.
The Bruce Bartman Memorial Scholarship—the school’s oldest and most prestigious award given to the senior who best exemplifies the school’s ideals—was presented to Jasmine Lowenstein.
The Community Resources Award for utilizing the CR program to its fullest went to Jasmine Lowenstein.
The Dean Al Gallup Scholarship for outstanding service to Community High went to Sebastian Oliva.
And the Judith Dewoskin Writing Award went to Maggie Wolf.