News

Bedford High School graduation for Class of 2014 draws some 300 grads

Friday, June 20, 2014

Story and photos by LORETTA JACKSON

Staff Writer

Bedford High School graduates of the Class of 2014, resplendent in flowing gowns and mortarboard caps, were greeted with rounds of applause as they marched into their final assembly, a graduation ceremony held in the school’s gymnasium on Saturday, June 14.

Event marshalls Melissa Schwartz and Mike Brown led the way as into the gym, chosen due to a high probability of rain that precluded an outdoor gathering. The cheers of family members, teachers, administrators and friends raised the decibel level.

The school’s mission statement, as published in the event’s program booklet, deems the school a community with a passion for learning and a school dedicated to high standards. A belief in extending education with a respect for integrity and with a sense of compassion is a part of the heritage.

William Hagen, the school’s principal, underscored the mandate when he reminisced about the journey undertaken by the graduating class. He applauded the students for their perseverance and their leadership. He commended all who helped the seniors to reach the day’s goal, their graduation.

“Your lives will be enriched by those you touch,” Hagen said to them. “Thank you.”

The program showcased the National Anthem, performed by the BHS Concert Choir. The song was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, led by Katrina Munoz, class vice president. Munoz, whose class address pronounced the teachers phenomenal. She noted the school is one that has garnered a multitude of scholastic awards and sports championships. It was opened in 2007.

Kelly Woodmansee, recipient of the Leadership Award, was commended by the principal for maintaining a grade point average of 3.88 and embracing a variety of challenging courses.

She deflected the kudos, crediting the school’s national recognition, abundance of presidential scholars, its internationally recognized Model United Nations and other attributes as proof of excellence.

She likened the connection between the graduates in the class to DNA – Bedford DNA that they will share no matter where they are in the world.

“We made it,” Woodmansee said. “Today is the first day when we’re allowed to follow our own path. Each one of you has something unique to share. ... Show the world what it means to be a Bulldog.”

James Butka, director of the BHS band, enriched the event with a song that he noted was additionally meaningful, for it included participation from a number of graduating seniors who were musicians in the band. The grads left their seats amid dozens of rows of seniors and headed for chairs alongside their fellow musicians. They played one more tune.

“This is special because the seniors who are band members get to play one final song with the band,” Butka said. “They’re playing ‘Lean On Me.’ ”

A rousing rendition of the tune stirred the audience to sway sideways, keeping the beat without leaving their chairs. The BHS band showed a level of mastery rarely encountered outside concert halls inhabited by high-level orchestras. The wailing of saxophones, manned by Jack Gorham and Tennison Hammont, capped the rendition and heaped applause upon all whose instruments were wielded so well.

Tim Mayes, retiring superintendent of schools for the Bedford School District, was on the stage, as was Chip McGee, assistant superintendent.

Gary Dempsey, assistant principal of BHS, Robert Jozokos, assistant principal of BHS and Terry Wolf, chair of the Bedford School Board, along with 22 advisers welcomed students. The groups, categorized by their advisories, approached to receive diplomas.

Some graduates, upon reaching center stage and reaching out for their diplomas, embraced their advisers. Some shared high-fives. Others raised both fists in victory.

One young man aligned himself and his adviser so they were standing, shoulder to shoulder. Then, he took a selfie.

For more information on the graduation ceremony for Bedford High School’s class of 2014, visit online: www.sau25.net.

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