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New Technology High School Virtual Graduation 2020

Virtual commencement exercises for the New Technology High School Class of 2020. Congratulations, graduates!

Sioux Falls School District

3 years ago

("Pomp and Circumstance") (crowd cheering) - Good morning, New Tech Class of 2020, Titan families and distinguished guests. It is my pleasure to welcome you all this morning as we send off another outstanding class of Titans. The New Tech staff, Mrs. Jorgenson and I would like to thank the Class of 2020 parents and students for another wonderful four years. Thank you for taking a risk on a new way of learning. We are so privileged to have had the opportunity to get to know you and educate you th
ese past four years. You have become wonderful collaborators, critical thinkers, communicators and innovators with the skills to meet challenges that stand before you. We are proud to send you out to pursue your next steps in life. We know you are ready. This school year did not end like any of us would've anticipated. As I was reflecting on what a wonderful group of people you are and sitting down to write the short welcome, I was struck with how we really never can anticipate the curve balls t
hat might come our way in life. I can say with certainty that you will all have wonderful days ahead and I can also say with certainty that you will all go through times in your lives when you face difficult situations. This spring was a test for all of us, and this was a big curveball for all seniors. I know that this is not the graduation day you had envisioned for yourselves. As I thought more about this, what brought me comfort was something my grandmother used to tell me when I would compla
in about difficult situations. She always said, "No matter what type of situation "you find yourself in, "the most important thing is how you handle it." It might be a great but new scary career, or it might be dealing with the loss of someone dear to you. No matter what types of situations lay ahead, remember, always looks for the positives. There are positives that come out of every situation, the difficult times, and you might just look a little bit harder for those. And the good times, but t
hey are there. Also, think about the lessons you're learning. This spring, we all learned that we miss face-to-face interactions and hugs more than we would have thought. You probably also learned something about what you value most. Things that were perhaps taken for granted before this pandemic will now be cherished. Every situation leads to growth. It shapes who we are and how we view ourselves in the world. I'm proud to say you are ready to face the curveballs. I feel so privileged to have h
ad the opportunity to be your principal these four years and to watch you grow. I hope you love what you do in life. I hope you have confidence to navigate those curve balls. And I hope you bring your best self to each and every day. Your New Tech family will miss you, but we are filled with the excitement for your next chapter. Congratulations, Class of 2020. It's a great day to be a Titan. Thank you. Please welcome our Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Brian Maher. - Hello, seniors in the Class o
f 2020. It's truly an honor to talk to you as you conclude your high school careers. What a ride you have endured. You've overcome, and you've embraced. You're leaving high school at a curious time in our nation's history. A time of uncertainty and a time of opportunity. I contend you are leaving high school at a great time, and success will follow you. In his second inaugural address to Congress, Abraham Lincoln stated, "The dogmas of the quiet past "are inadequate to the stormy present. "The o
ccasion is piled high with difficulty "and we must rise with the occasion. "As our case is new, we must think anew and act anew." Now, seems to me as though those words were written for this time in our current reality. But this is your time to address the stormy present. Use your skills. Use the perseverance you have developed and adapt as you have shown you can in your short lives. This is your future. You will determine the new dogmas required for success. You've already proven you are resili
ent. You've already proven you can persevere. You have already proven you can adapt and adjust. You're on a great path to achieve and succeed. Congratulations on what you have already accomplished, and best of luck as you conquer new worlds. It is now my pleasure to introduce to you the President of the Sioux Falls School District Board of Education, Mrs. Cynthia Mickelson. - Congratulations to the New Tech High School Class of 2020. Good morning graduates. My name is Cynthia Mickelson, and it i
s an honor to serve as President of the Board of Education for the Sioux Falls School District. I appreciate your understanding as I speak to you virtually instead of physically handing you your diplomas. I feel privileged to work for this district, and some days this job is easier than others. The boundaries to discussion, and the resignation of Dr. Maher have been hard. But the hardest day was the day we knew school would be closed through the remaining part of the year. Our greatest strength
is our people and making connections. So how could we do this not being able to meet in person? The answer became very clear as your amazing teachers and the entire staff at Sioux Falls School District rose to the challenge and continued to provide resources to our students. As I sat down to write this speech, there were many thoughts that came to mind. However, I want to focus on how proud we as a district are of your accomplishments during this unprecedented time. Your tenacity and grit will h
elp you in life as much as learning about Algebra 2. Many years ago, I played point guard in basketball, and you learn early on that you never pick up your dribble unless you know where you are going to pass the ball or take the shot. And when COVID-19 hit, we were faced with a giant defender that we could not see around. So we had to plant that pivot foot and look for other solutions. Your agility to change course, partnered with a positive attitude will carry you far and it'll allow you to be
responsive and nimble, not reactive. I'd like to encourage you to focus on what you can control or influence, mainly your emotions. Sometimes, we have to realize the only way through a situation is to wait and be patient until the storm passes. The Sioux Falls School District has given you a great educational foundation, but we are most excited to see what you accomplish after you leave our schools. Our hope is that we have provided you with the diversity of thought and experiences throughout yo
ur time with us, but that you also understand and have empathy for your neighbor whose experience may not have been as positive as yours. The ability to empathize and understand other perspectives will allow you to always work through differences. So if you have heard nothing else from me today, please remember to put yourself in someone else's situation and work towards resolution, not confrontation. In closing, I would like to ask you to continue to be a student, and I do not mean to stay in s
chool forever. I mean to continue to challenge yourself, educate yourself, listen to others, be open to new experiences and other opinions, keep learning, engage, listen, continue to improve yourself and show up. And never ever settle for less than you deserve. Because you are worth it. Congratulations, the Class of 2020. (gentle piano music) ♪ All we are, we have found in song ♪ ♪ You have drawn this song from us ♪ ♪ Songs of lives unfolding ♪ ♪ Fly overhead ♪ ♪ Cry overhead ♪ ♪ Longing, rising
♪ ♪ From the song within ♪ ♪ Ah ♪ ♪ Ah ♪ ♪ Moving like the rise and fall of wings ♪ ♪ Hands that shape our calling voice ♪ ♪ On the edge of answers ♪ ♪ You've heard our cry ♪ ♪ You've known our cry ♪ ♪ Music's fierce compassion ♪ ♪ Flows from you ♪ ♪ The night is restless with the sounds we hear ♪ ♪ Is broken, shaken by the cries of pain ♪ ♪ For this is music's inner voice ♪ ♪ Saying, yes, we hear you ♪ ♪ All you who cry aloud ♪ ♪ And we will fly ♪ ♪ Answering you ♪ ♪ So our lives sing ♪ ♪ Sing
, singing wild, we will fly ♪ ♪ Wild in spirit, we will fly ♪ ♪ Like a feather falling from the wing ♪ ♪ Fragile as a human voice ♪ ♪ Afraid, uncertain ♪ ♪ Alive to love ♪ ♪ We sing as love ♪ ♪ Afraid, uncertain, yet our flight ♪ ♪ Begins, begins ♪ ♪ As song ♪ (audience clapping) - Please welcome to the stage our commencement speaker for the Class of 2020, Jordan Dierkson. - First off, I would like to thank all of the family members gathered here today to support our graduates as well as the won
derful facilitators that have helped to guide and educate us over these past four years. I would also like to give thanks to the District Administrators present, and the school board for attending this special day for all of us. Lastly, I would like to thank the graduates themselves. Today is our day. Everyone here has worked hard for the past 12 or 13 years to make it to this moment. We're graduating. Next year, for some of us, there won't be school. There may not be another orientation day, an
other class, another assignment. All we'll have in front of us is the open frontier of the rest of our lives. We'll fight for our country in the military, volunteer to help make our world a better place, or put on our workers' hats and get down and dirty. But today, today we become graduates. Today we take a step off the ride of high school and load onto the train that'll take us on an adventure of a lifetime. For many of us, this means that we have a clean slate. The world is your sandbox. Go a
nd build your kingdom and make your legacy. You could be a big-time movie star. You might end up among the stars, literally. Set your eyes high and never stop climbing. However, our world is a turbulent place, constantly changing, and adapting. Our senior year did not end how any of us thought it would have. But we have persevered and come through this pandemic stronger. We are to adapt with our world or get left behind in the memories of yesterday. We live in a society that says to live your li
fe to the fullest, but yet criticizes those who choose to do so in abnormal ways. One that epitomizes the classic American dream of a white-picket-fence house, but yet tells the masses of its youth to not follow the status quo and to carve their own path through life. The point being, that we are going to be told or have been told in some way, shape or form by those around us in our society as a whole how to act, how to look, how to speak, and, ultimately, how to live our lives. But let me tell
you something, nobody has the roadmap to your life. Live it how you please, and enjoy what you do. That, I believe, is what we should all be striving for each and every moment. To not pursue happiness, but rather pursue living a full life. One that when we are old, relaxing in our over-sized chairs, watching our grandchildren run around us, can look back upon and smile, knowing it was a full life. When we pursue a full life over pursuing happiness, we ironically find happiness. I found that, in
the pursuit of happiness, we lose it, not gain it. You cannot be happy by simply chasing it. And that means something different to all of us. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Happiness is not a goal. "It's a by-product of a life well-lived." So let those around you scoff at what you enjoy, look at you in bewilderment because of the life you love. But as long as it's your life, that it's the life you want to be living, then I say let them stare in wonder at a content person. But no matter what yo
u do in this life, you have the chance to make a mark on the world. Einstein left school when he was just 15 years old in Switzerland. Walt Disney was fired because he lacked imagination and good ideas. I mean, hey, Colonel Sanders took a $105 dollar check and his chicken recipe was rejected by over a thousand restaurants, and yet created the KFC we all know and love. Make your legacy big or small, but let it be your own legacy. Fail, I mean fail spectacularly. Find success. Find what you're loo
king for in this world. You're ready for it. So, please, when we leave here today, do not forget the power that we hold over our futures and lives. Do not forget the power we have as humanity. We have the power of choice. So it is your choice how to live your life. Do not forget that we can change the world, even if it's just our own slice of it. And do not forget just how powerful you are, even when you seem powerless. Live your own life to the fullest and live to be content. Thank you. - At th
is time, we present the New Tech Class of 2020 graduation candidates. (gentle music) - Jessalyn Anderson. Macy Anderson. Elizabeth Arcudi. Mason Barnes. Vanessa Bowker. Sorit Bushra. Kaia Chambers. Nikkia Childrey. Hayden Cypher. Austin Dagley. Carson Damiata. Christopher Davis. Bernice Dennis. Ethan Diaz. Ashley Dickerson. Jordan Dierkson. Kellan Douglas. Spencer Drovdal. Travis Dunathan. Owen Elkins. Jessica Erickson. Kierra Erickson. Arien Esser. Amaya Gogue. Austin Gray. Alexis Greer. Garret
t Harmon. Alexander Helmbrecht. Tyler Henson. Machaela Herrin. Emily Hill. Hannah Hlavka. Christopher Irvine. Miles Johnson. Kaden Juranek. - Hadeer Kadhim. Matthew Kampa. Logan Koster. Ava Krabbenhoft. Caitlin Kramer. Tyler Langman. Brandon Lohnes. Tyson Lott. Katrina Martinez. Quinn Monahan. Aislin Negrete. Serissa Nelson. Celia Nevin. Shannon Pederson. Emily-Angelica Perez. Aden Perkins. Grant Peterson. Peri Peterson. Gabrielle Phillips. Jennifer Ramon. Jackson Regnier. Deven Rehms. Jayden Re
yes. Margaret Samp. Brendan Schumacher. Elizabeth Searles. Vanessa Sierra-Rojas. Sofi Skonhovd. Hope Spade. Brian Tanner. Jasmine Texley. Jordan Tschetter. Grace Varela. Josie Wahl. Audrie Wieme. Kenneth Williams. Jacob Woolridge. Brandon Ysbrand. And now, New Tech Class of 2020, on behalf of Ms. Ellwein and all of the staff and facilitators, we ask you to please stand in your living rooms, in your garages, your basements. As we celebrate you, the Class of 2020, please throw your hat, and congra
tulations. (crowd cheering) (inspirational music) - [Burgs] I think, if I could get you to do one thing, I would say, when you get to the point that you really feel highly motivated to, just, towards keeping your virtue, then you'll discover quite quickly just how extraordinary a life was meant to be could be. And it's, it's just we get so messy. It's not that we're doing lots of wrong things. But our mind is so messy. We don't keep it simple. And we end up making the life that we're living so i
nordinately complicated, and completely unnecessarily. And it's such a shame to end up feeling in a real muddle when actually you ought to be having the time of your lives. It doesn't actually take very much to make the deepest part of us incredibly happy, you know? Just to be here, just to appreciate, to appreciate being here, to feel that you're alive, to be in touch with your heart. That's it, that's it. It takes mindfulness to come to a human life. And then, above that, it takes mindfulness
and virtue to come to a fortunate human life. The chance to be part of this happens briefly. The invitation is not to show how inventive and imaginative you are, but how much you can notice what you're already a part of, and appreciate it, and share it, and care about those that are around. Look out for their welfare while you're looking out for your own. That's it. And then you'll get to the end of it having had a awesome time, knowing that that was something you'd recommend to others. (sighs)
You all know. You all know there's a place inside where it's all right. You all know that when you let the ego go, it's not this black hole that you jump into. You all know it. Why can't you (speaks faintly)? Yet the world is creaking under the strain of this inordinately complicated mass of humanity. And, actually, you know, it's really simple. And when you came here, you came here with a sense of awe and wonder, dying to just see what it was all about. It's like, what would it be like to be do
wn there, to be a part of it? And you came here with a sense of wonder and somehow the wonder of it wasn't enough, and we stopped wondering at it and started wondering about ourselves. And in your wondering about yourself, you forgot what you came here for, what you came to be a part of. (acoustic guitar music) - [Voiceover] The 2019-2020 school year began like many others, normally. School began Thursday, August 22nd. As the fall semester began, Homecoming, concerts, fall sports, and other acti
vities went on as normal. After the holiday break, the second semester began normally, too. But by mid-March, things would look very different. During the course of the school year, at the district level, Superintendent Dr. Brian Maher announced his resignation from the Sioux Falls School District. And the school board named Dr. Jane Stavem as his replacement who would take over on July 1st, 2020. Over the course of several meetings, a community task force had taken up the tough job of redrawing
school boundary lines to accommodate a growing district while the new schools, Thomas Jefferson High School and Ben Reifel Middle School began to take shape in preparation of their opening during the fall of 2021. The first known, linked cases of COVID-19, then referred to simply as the coronavirus, began to appear in China on December 31st, 2019. The first known case in the United States was reported on January 19th, 2020. By January 30th, the World Health Organization would declare a global h
ealth emergency. As the virus rapidly spread across the globe notably in cruise ships and among travelers who didn't know they had the disease, countries outside of China began regional or nationwide lockdowns by mid- to late-February. On March 10th, South Dakota had its first confirmed case of COVID-19. On March 12th, the Sioux Falls School District suspended all non-essential activities until further notice, which happened to include a community engagement meeting scheduled to take place that
night at Memorial Middle School about the boundary issue. This included concerts, plays, sports events, community education classes, and much more. On March 13th, President Trump declared a national emergency, And also on that day, South Dakota Governor, Kristi Noem, recommended that all South Dakota schools close for the following week. District officials sent out information to families about the closure. Spring break was scheduled for Thursday and Friday, March 19th and 20th. So, for the time
being, the remaining three days, Monday through Wednesday, March 16th through 18th, were going to be treated as snow days. However, by the end of the day on March 13th, in preparation for a potential longer term closure, most students were sent home with their Chromebooks, or they were able to obtain them in the following days. Within a few days, schools across the state were closed for an additional week. And activities like the state basketball tournament were pushed back until April. Then, o
n March 24th, Governor Noem announced schools would be closed until May. On April 6th, she announced schools would be closed for the remainder of the school year, and all activities were canceled. As the Sioux Falls School District adapted to remote learning, so did students and their parents. Students without internet connection or devices at home were provided hard copy packets, which could be picked up at schools or were delivered by school buses. School breakfasts and lunches were provided a
t sites across Sioux Falls and distributed via bus routes throughout neighborhoods. Educators and students reached each other through online formats like Zoom meetings, Google Hangouts and Skype. While teachers also used YouTube, Google Drive, Loom and other methods to post videos or discussions online. Throughout daily briefings from state and local leaders, as the number of cases grew in South Dakota and Sioux Falls, the guidelines continued to fluctuate. Groups of 10 or more were discouraged.
Many local businesses like those across the world closed their doors. By mid-April it was recommended that people wear masks and gloves in public places to prevent the asymptomatic spread of the disease. Parks and playgrounds were closed. Basketball hoops were taken down. Summer sports seasons were pushed back. Summer camps across the state closed for the year. Economic hardships took hold for many. And the term social distancing was adopted into daily speech. There was a yeast shortage, but th
at was after people had already begun hoarding toilet paper. Many words have been used to describe this time, in email messages, ads on TV and social media, and even in our own conversations. Unprecedented, uncertain, new normal. But for you, the New Tech High School Class of 2020, there was nothing normal about your senior year. The culmination of many years of hard work was never seen. Events you'd look forward to, maybe for years, didn't happen. The final days in your high school hallways too
k place long before we realized they would be your last. We can't meet in person right now to celebrate your achievements, but we're still proud to celebrate them. This isn't the graduation you and your families likely hoped for, and certainly not the one you deserved. But we're proud to honor you today with this virtual ceremony.

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