Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Othello honors 2024 graduating class of almost 300 students

Staff Writer | June 12, 2024 3:00 AM

OTHELLO — The Othello School District filled the bleachers and lawn of Huskie stadium Friday evening with a large crowd of friends, family and community members celebrating the Othello High School Class of 2024 graduation ceremony.

There were almost 300 Othello High School students who made it to graduation this year, with two valedictorians, Olivia Gonzalez and Matthew Perez.

Othello High School Principal Kathryn Acheson talked about graduation and what it meant for the seniors.

“The graduation ceremony is a celebration of the culmination of 12 years of study for each graduate,” she said. “Today, as we come together, let us reflect on each student's incredible journey they have undertaken, and celebrate the remarkable achievement of every graduate present here. This day marks not only the culmination of their hard work and dedication but also the beginning of a future filled with endless possibilities.”

Acheson thanked all those involved in the graduating seniors’ education.

“Our graduates' journey through school would not have been the same without the unwavering support from our teachers and counselors,” she said. “Their dedication has empowered our graduates to pursue their dreams and overcome challenges. Thank you for investing your time, energy and expertise in shaping the future of our graduating seniors. Thank you to our families for your love, motivation and encouragement of these remarkable young people. I'm sure the journey hasn’t always been easy, but you did it.”

Valedictorian Olivia Gonzalez was the first speaker.

“Thank you for coming here today to congratulate the Class of 2024 as we transition into the next phase of our lives,” she said. “As I stand before you, honored as one of our class valedictorians, I can't help but think about how lucky I am to be a part of something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

The speech reflected on some of the good and bittersweet aspects of graduation.

“Regardless of where we go or what challenges we may face, I want us to remember the moment we set foot across the stage tonight and let it be a testament to our strength and capability to overcome any obstacles that may step in our way,” she said. “As we depart from this field tonight and bid farewell to those who have devoted their lives to providing us with a brighter future, I hope you can find comfort in the wise words of our favorite childhood author, Dr. Seuss, who said, ‘Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.’

“Class of 2024, I'd like to thank you for an incredible and unforgettable high school experience,” she said. “Growing up with all of you truly has been an honor and I sincerely hope you find joy and happiness in all you do. I wish you all the best. Congratulations, my friends, and good luck.”

OHS Vice Principal Scott Swartz then handed out select awards and Acheson handed out scholarships. According to the ceremony pamphlet, more than $1.2 million in outside scholarships, grants, awards and endowments have been offered to Othello 2024 graduates, and about $69,000 in local scholarships have been awarded.

Graduating Associated Student Body President Ruby Escamilla also spoke during the ceremony.

“Thank you to all the staff for your hard work and dedication. Each one of you has played a big role in our journey and we are grateful for your contributions. A huge thank-you to all the parents. We stand here today in hopes of making you proud, and letting you know that everything we have done, we have done for you,” she said. “The class of 2024 is pushing day in and day out, not only for ourselves but, most importantly, for the wonderful people waiting for us at home.”

Finally, prior to handing out the diplomas, Superintendent Pete Perez certified the Class of 2024. 

“I can't be more proud of the group of students behind us, and I hope that all of you are proud of the kids that you raised,” he said.

Gabriel Davis may be reached at gdavis@columbiabasinherald.com.

    A member of Othello’s Class of 2024 accepts her diploma during the graduation ceremony outside Othello High School.
    Othello High School senior Olivia Gonzalez, one of the Class of 2024’s two valedictorians, gives a speech during Friday’s ceremony.
    Othello High School seniors lead the procession on the OHS field during Friday evening’s graduation celebration.
    Othello High School Co-Valedictorian, Matthew Perez, speaks during the 2024 graduation ceremony.
    An Othello High School graduating senior accepts her diploma Friday.
    Othello School District Superintendent Pete Perez certifies the Class of 2024’s graduation during Friday’s ceremony.
    Othello High School Principal Kathryn Acheson began the introduction of Friday’s 2024 graduation ceremony.

    Members of the Othello High School Class of 2024 move their tassels to the other side of their caps, marking the certification of their graduation from the Othello School District.