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vFor the 63rd time, South High School conferred diplomas on 150 graduates, who now enter the esteemed ranks of Colt alumni.
Friday afternoon at the Southwest Motors Events Center, the Class of 2022, led by top academic scholar Hayden “Beck” Hall, took that historic walk across the stage and into the future.
Located in front of the stage, the recently awarded Lamp of Knowledge served as a reminder of South’s collective scholarly achievement, with the Cannon representing the South football team’s rivalry win.
The commencement was the first under District 60’s new Latin Laude System. In this new designation system, four Colts – Hayden Hall, Allie Garner, Elizabeth Eborn and Lorenzo Alfonso – earned their diploma with the highest honor: Summa Cum Laude-Distinction.
Summa Cum Laude-Honors were bestowed on Nicholas DeAngelo, Emma Wright, Elia Ware, Holly Tran, Ashley Hughes, Juliana Rendon, Alleson Schlosky and Mailee Holley, with Jace Bellah, Jeg Lucero, Cierra Martinez and Madison Reardon’s diploma coming with Summa Cum Laude-Merit honors.
Leaving South as Summa Cum Laude scholars are Jaedyn Valencia, Samantha Townsend, Lana Kitchen, Yesly Parra, and Tarrance Austin. A student wears a white hood over her black gown, smiling at the camera
Fifteen additional scholars were recognized for earning diplomas in the Magna Cum Laude and Cum Laude designations.
Tanis Chavez, Student Body President, was first to address the Class of 2022 and the hundreds of guests on hand for the milestone occasion.
“Adaptable. Intelligent. Elegant. Capable. Irreplaceable. And unshakeable. These are just a few words that can describe this beautiful Class of 2022,” Ms. Chavez said. “At South, I quickly learned that you get what you give. It doesn’t matter where, who or what you come from, we are all the same and we should always remember that.”
As Senior Class President and also Top Scholar, Hayden Hall, who is headed to Rice University as a Hurliman Scholar, twice addressed his classmates.
“I do not feel as if I am Top Scholar, I just love to learn,” Mr. Hall said. “It is as simple as that. I love the actual learning and the eventual state of knowing. Learning is freedom to me. Learning feels like the Star Spangled Banner or singing a pure note. It feels like solving a calculus proof. It feels like I’m on top of Pikes Peak or swimming in the Caribbean.
South's top scholar, Hayden Hall address the audience at commencement“It feels like I just listened to Kendrick Lamar for the first time. It feels like I assisted the winning goal in overtime or like the Broncos just won the Super Bowl. It feels like I just hugged my Mom.”
The Top Scholar then presented his parents with a hand-crafted Colt sculpture, which was reciprocated with placement of a Top Scholar Medallion around his neck by his Mother.
Emma Wright, representing Key Club, spoke of the necessity of serving others.
“President Calvin Coolidge believed in giving what you could to others,” Ms. Wright said. “He thought that if you let your actions speak louder than your words, your true state of being would shine through. So I ask you, Class of 2022: How loud can you let your actions speak? And how loud will you let them speak, as you continue forward?"
Principal Mike Kovac had high words of praise for the Colts seated before him.
“You have proven how resilient and dedicated you are, and greatness awaits you,” Principal Kovac said. “I’m very proud and honored to recognize the 2022 graduates of South. As you begin your next journey in life, remember: be courageous, do your best all the time, every time; and most importantly, never lose your sense of humor.”
As presented by Principal Kovac, the Class of 2022 was accepted by Dr. Margaret Wright, President of the D60 Board of Education, with Superintendent Charlotte Macaluso conferring the diplomas. On the stage to congratulate the graduates were D60 School Board members and South administrators.
The tassel change and class yell were led by Hayden Hall, with the Class of 2022 then saluted with sustained applause throughout the exit from the Events Center floor.
The ceremony was distinguished by a tribute to parents, as well as veterans, with recognition given to those Colts who will now serve their country in military branches.
The South Choir performed a selection of well received numbers, with the South Band entrusted with the traditional processional “Pomp and Circumstance” and the national anthem.
Collectively, the Class of 2022 earned $1.8 million in scholarships, with Colts headed to colleges across the state and nation, with several planning to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level.