The 293 Jamestown High School 2012 graduates look at the world and ask, "Why not?"
Why not have a concert in the middle of commencement?
That is exactly what happened at Jamestown High School's 145th annual commencement ceremony Friday evening at Chautauqua Institution's Ampitheater.
During the farewell address by class of 2012 advisers Michael Tuccio and Elizabeth Rowe-Baehr, the two paused to join the rest of the members of local band TPC, to surprise their students by singing "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey with and to their students.
"Why not? Why not. Because, who knows, it's possible that the person sitting here next to you at this very moment will be the one to say, 'Why not?' We expect that one of our own from the class of 2012 will be the ones to write it, invent it, fix it, design it," Rowe-Baehr said.
In addition to Tuccio and Rowe-Baehr, the commencement ceremony included a variety of other speakers throughout the evening, as well as music by the high school concert band and A Cappella.
Jamestown High School graduates broke out in song midway through their graduation ceremony Friday evening at the Chautauqua Institution’s Ampitheater.
P-J photo by Liz Skoczylas
"One-hundred and forty-five years are a lot of years. All by itself, that number is representative of the rich tradition that underscores the pride that we have in our school district, particularly in JHS," said Deke Kathman, district superintendent.
Holly Johnson, salutatorian, offered words of wisdom during her address, which included "drive safe" and "watch out for deer." She encouraged her peers to drive forward with their futures, and to watch for the glitches along the way.
Additionally, Nate Larson, valedictorian, gave a speech that reminisced over his years at the high school, including a game called "Lunchtable Survivor," which he played with his friends in lunch.
Dr. Mike McElrath, first year principal of the high school, reflected back over the year during his speech. He joked about events such as Battle of the Classes, before congratulating the graduates.
"Ok seniors, this is it! You've made it. You're here," McElrath proclaimed.
Other speakers throughout the evening included Katie Baudo and Maria Liuzzo, who presented a tribute to the parents; Kaylin Gowan and Shaq Pearson-Kinsey, class co-presidents, who gave the presidents' message; and Carlos Ojeda, Jr., who was the evening's keynote speaker.