Not too many high school graduations have the atmosphere of a college Commencement ceremony. But as those who walked into Harmony Magnet Academy's Commencement ceremony on Friday at the Buck Shaffer Theater at the Porterville Memorial Auditorium found out, it was definitely a collegiate atmosphere.

As people were arriving Harmony Magnet Academy advanced and intermediate orchestra students were playing classical music. Then right before the ceremony a video played with each graduate stating where they were attending college. And for good measure one of the speeches by one of the graduates focused on Greek mythology.

After the senior video played the ceremony began at the packed Shaffer Theater with the California Cadet Corp 3rd Brigade presenting the Colors followed by the Harmony ASB president and Valdediction Gabriel Bower leading the Pledge of Allegiance. The Harmony orchestra students followed with the playing of the National Anthem.

Harmony principal Jeff Brown then welcomed all those in attendance. His welcome speech was translated in Spanish by Joanna Carranza.

'We're here to celebrate the end of one thing and the beginning of another,” Brown said. “Your legacy will be the pursuit of happiness.”

Brown talked about how the class was real world ready. “This is what you trained for,” he said, stating the class was trained to take on real world problems. He told the class they were ready to “think on you feet.”

“Most importantly you have to believe in you,” Brown added. Pursue your dream.”

He also talked about how the class will have the characteristics of leadership that include the willingness to take risks while also showing patience.

As a USC graduate, Brown concluding by exhorting the students when he said, “Fight On!”

In his address Bower talked about his favorite story from Greek mythology his mother read to him as a youth. The story about Theseus and the labyrinth. Bower compared the challenges of the labyrinth to the challenges the Class of 2022 faced over the last couple of years dealing with such obstacles as the COVID-19 pandemic.

He talked about how those such as parents and teachers are making sure the Class of 2022 will have the  tools to make it through their present day labyrinth. He added “they have already given us those tools.”

Bower also said Theseus never made any excuses or shied away from the challenges of the labyrinth. “My fellow graduates lets be like Theseus,” Bower said. “Let's be courageous and fearless.”

Fellow Valedictorian Edd Timothy DelaCruz described the last few years that the graduates went through as “absolutely wild.”

As DelaCruz acknowledged the friendship of his classmates fellow Valedictorian Alejandro Maldonado also made sure to credit his fellow classmates. “We should appreciate every one of these graduates who earned a place on this stage,” Maldonado said.

Senior class president Dylan Callison talked about he and the class overcame the challenges they faced. He said there were “a lot of challenges I've used to learn from.”

About the class of 2022 Callison said, “but in the end we overcame those obstacles. We came together and worked hard.”

As did Bower, DelaCruz and Maldonado, Callison thanked his friends, teachers and family members.

After Callison's speech came the senior performance in which a group of the graduates were able to perform with the Harmony orchestra students an abridged version of Merry Go Round of Life from Howl's Moving Castle which was dedicated to the class of 2022.

After that came the presentation of the graduating class by Brown, the roll call and the presentation of diplomas.


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