Thousands of people packed the stands at the San Marcos High School graduation ceremony Wednesday evening.
There was a sea of red and blue caps and gowns — 427 graduating seniors exactly — that filled the Warkentin Stadium. Among them were classmates Henry Manfredonia and Anthony Ramii, two seniors who said that after the ups and downs their class has endured, they were thrilled to finally make it through to graduation day.
“It was a great four years, but I’m so looking forward to college,” said Manfredonia, who has played pitcher for the San Marcos Baseball team and is going to continue his baseball at UC Santa Barbara this fall. “I really don’t know how we all made it through online school, but we did it.”
Ramii, who was accepted into Oregon State University, called the day “bittersweet.” “The last year has been really hard,” he said, “so it really means everything to be able to be together as a class today. We really didn’t know at first if we would be able to.”
After the flag salute and the national anthem, the ceremony started off with the San Marcos Madrigals performing the senior class song. Shortly after, Principal Kip Glazer gave her keynote speech and centered it around the Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien. She compared the struggles of the two main characters — two hobbits named Frodo and Sam — to those that the class have faced and will face. She encouraged the graduates to be like Frodo and Sam and to “remember the good” and keep pushing forward even when they want to turn back.
“Just two short years ago, when I was asked to become the principal at this school, I had that moment of sheer terror,” Glazer said. “I thought about turning back, but I knew San Marcos was something good that was worth fighting for, and I was right. Even as I became the pandemic principal, I knew that I had the honor and privilege of reminding all of you that there was so much good at this school that all of us need to fight for.
“That good was bringing you back to school so that your family could celebrate this momentous occasion with you in person.”
In addition to the 427 who graduated from San Marcos, there were 515 seniors who graduated from Dos Pueblos High School, 490 who graduated from Santa Barbara High School, and 88 who graduated from La Cuesta/Alta Vista.
“So class of 2021, I urge you to remember that you truly are the hero of your own epic story,” Glazer said. “Just like Frodo and Sam, you are called upon to step up and fulfill your destiny.”