Story and Photos by Kevin S. Abel
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Office
One-hundred-seventy students of Stuttgart High School Class of 2016 completed the final task of a long list of firsts, June 8 at the Stadthalle in Sindelfingen as seniors crossed the stage to receive their diplomas during the school’s first commencement.
Senior Class President, Gabrielle Garcia, officially welcomed families, friends and teachers to this year’s commencement.
The evening was all about the students, beginning with the the SHS graduation band, processional, followed by the presentation of the colors by SHS Junior ROTC, and German and U.S. anthems sung by a chorus comprised of seniors.
In the words of, Garcia it was the first time for an all-female class board, the first Friday Night Lights Football game, first time anyone had beaten Ramstein on their home field in football, first volleyball game in our gym, first Friday night Basketball game, first culinary arts department, the first drama production, and the first music concert in an auditorium just to name a few.
Kylie Boenisch, Salutatorian said the SHS class will take with them, “their Dirndls, their lederhosen, passports, admiration of the Italian coast, an appreciation for the Eifel Tower, of day trips with friends, memories of wondering the streets of Amsterdam, of the Schlossplatz, of fests and even the S-Bahn, so go forth ‘as Jim Kirk says’ go boldly where no Stuttgart High School Graduate has gone before.”
Justin Kellog was honored as this year’s Valedictorian.
Jacob Milton, senior class presenter followed: Annelise Meyer and Nina Bleckley, who performed an original tune written by Meyer for the ceremony called “Beginning to Begin.”
Quoting Dr. Martian Luther King Jr., Milton said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” Remember this staircase Milton reminded the class, “we take our last steps on the staircase of high school and into life, we will always represent Stuttgart High School in all its glory, pride and passion.”
The speakers all complimented their classmates, commenting on their drive and determination. They kept their remarks brief, but humorous, intent on getting to the point of the ceremony: the diploma.
In fact, the only time a non-student appeared on stage was when Danny Robinson, the SHS principal, read the declaration of graduation requirements and during the diploma presentation.
Robinson awarded the diplomas, while a short bio of the student was read including what their future plans are and a personal thank you to those who helped them graduate.
Though the other parents were not physically on stage with their children, their presence was felt. Inside the students’ diploma covers were personal messages written by their parents. The intent is to have a connection between the graduate and his/her parents, during the graduation ceremony, Robinson explained. There are often tears on stage, as well as, a “thank you” to the parents in the audience.
View the full graduating class in the print edition of The Citizen, available for download: click here.
Editor’s note June 16: The photo printed on page 14-15 was erroneously uncredited. The photo is credited to Virginia Kozak of Stuttgart High School. Additionally, the date of graduation was June 8, the print edition incorrectly stated June 3 which was the last day of classes for seniors. The print edition also left out in error the Stuttgart High School Valedictorian, Justin Kellog (updated June 21).