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Student processional at graduationWith diplomas in hand, the Columbia High School Class of 2018 moved their tassels to the other side of their mortarboard caps and officially became high school graduates on Saturday at the school’s 78th annual commencement. The class received a standing ovation from family, friends and school staff, and just like that, high school had ended and it was replaced by a new beginning.

Bryan Serian speaking at 2018 Commencement

Class president Bryan Serian speaking at the Class of 2018 commencement ceremony.

“This is our moment,” said Columbia High School class president Bryan Serian. “We are the future. If you seek change in this world, you must be that change. If you have a vision for what something should be, you must make it that. If we sit back and wait, nothing changes. This class is the future of the country and the future of the world.”

That spirit was embodied by the Class of 2018 this school year as students volunteered in their communities, raised money for charities and addressed the national conversation about school safety, all while achieving at a high academic level.

Other speakers included Student Council President Lillian Hutton ’18, Salutatorian Jonathan Sills ’18, Valedictorian Natasha Montiel ’18, Superintendent Jeff Simons, Principal Michael Harkin and Former Principal John Sawchuk, who returned to give the keynote address at the invitation of students.

“I drove 16 hours last night to get here. I would have driven three times that amount to be with you all,” Mr. Sawchuk said. “That’s how much I think about you.”

Mr. Sawchuk offered five pieces of advice to the students as they head out into the world: believe in yourself, always look to help someone else, work hard, be passionate and be grateful.

Connor Roizman receives high school diploma“I’ll be grateful right now,” Mr. Sawchuk said. “I’ll be grateful for having the opportunity to know you guys, to work with you, to see you mature and to see what you turn into. It’s been my great pleasure to be a part of your lives for the last four years. I’ll never forget you guys. I love you to death. Congratulations.”

The Class of 2018 now heads out into the world where they will attend college, join the workforce and enter the military. Graduates will be attending prestigious colleges across the country such as the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Rochester Institute of Technology and Syracuse University.

“This class is full of inspirational stories, accomplishments and special moments,” Mr. Simons said. “The students have strong character and a genuine goodness about them. So what makes this class so special is what makes it so hard to say goodbye to them.”

Congratulations to the Columbia High School Class of 2018!