As the graduates prepared to soar into a future of endless possibility, the Falcons’ leader, Principal Eric Volta, was also prepping to take flight, moving on to a position at the Liberty Union High School District.
“I am very fortunate to exit Freedom with the class of ’09,” said Volta. “You will occupy a part of my heart with fond memories, and I am more than proud that you represent my final graduating class. And now, no longer bound by the laws of compulsory education, I wish you the best of luck.”
The students stood and chanted Volta’s name as they honored and bade farewell to their leader before focusing attention back to the main event: their promotion into society as high school graduates.
While high school is often labeled as the best four years of your life, valedictorian Amber Basore disagreed. She acknowledged her struggles through her high school journey, but assured her classmates that the best is yet to come.
“Although we may never need to know some of the information we learned in the past four years, high school has prepared us all for the hurdles we will face in years to come,” Basore said. “It has been full of highly dramatic and highly dull moments, but somehow each and every one of us made it through. Now that the end has finally come, it is almost bittersweet. The future seems so exciting, while moving on from the past doesn’t feel right. Of course, every great story must eventually come to its end.”
Co-salutatorian Kayla Suhrie, who shared her honor with Eilan Zeng, wished her classmates well and urged them to cherish their high school memories as they move on to the next phase of their lives.
“Whether our personal high school experience was the best of times or the worst, every one of us survived,” Suhrie said. “I’d like to offer a huge congratulations to each and every one of us for reaching this milestone.
“Graduation is the crowning glory of our teenage years, and while this crown isn’t gold and encrusted with precious jewels, but rather a flat mortarboard, its symbolism is far more valuable than gold or jewels. In just a few minutes, as we move our tassels from right to left, we celebrate all that we’ve accomplished in 13 years of schooling.”
Class speaker Lacy Sweany noted that while the Falcons’ journey at Freedom was full of great memories, their senior year was marked by the most special moments they’ll never forget, such as cheering at the baseball championship game at Oakland Coliseum, and winning the homecoming float competition, making the class of ’09 the first class to win all four years.
“I will never forget the class of 2009,” Sweany said. “Freedom High School staff and parents, thank you for your support, faith and energy. We’ve had a very successful four years, and we will now pursue our dreams.”
After the Freedom choir’s a cappella rendition of “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” 455 graduates – the largest class in Freedom’s 11-year history – took their turn on stage, returning to their seats clutching their diplomas and beaming smiles of relief, ready to spread their wings and fly into the future.
Click here for a complete list of 2009 graduates.