As part of the wave of virtual ceremonies marking this years graduating classes across the nation, John F. Kennedy High School streamed its commencement event on the night of Wednesday, June 10, via YouTube and Facebook. Additionally, a PDF program for the ceremony was posted on the Kennedy website. The nearly 90-minute presentation remains accessible for viewing online.
The pre-recorded program began with a sequence of Kennedy faculty congratulating the students with spirited signs, which was followed by a heartfelt speech to graduates delivered by several teachers as a testament to the unusual hurdles this class has faced over the years — and, historically, during this spring’s statewide school closures and subsequent quarantine learning.
Social Science teacher Cassandra Thames then appeared in the role of Mistress of Ceremonies to welcome viewers and introduce the various segments. These included a rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” sung by Mitchell Takeda; welcoming remarks from students using various world languages; congratulatory remarks from Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) Superintendent, Jorge Aguilar, SCUSD Board Member, Daryll Woo, and United States Congresswoman, Doris Matsui; distinctions and honors to Salutatorian, Matthew Stringer, Outstanding Cougar, Amorri Lee, and Outstanding Cougar Athlete, Abdurrahman “Man Man” Garner; speeches from Leniha LaGarde and Valedictorian, Rohit Jhawar; a musical performance by Takeda, Amare Sabillo, and Ethan Pham-Aguilar; and remarks by Kennedy Principal, David Van Natten.
The calling of graduates’ names came next, most accompanied onscreen by a portrait, as “Pomp and Circumstance” played in the background. Van Natten returned to ordain the class one last time before their tassles were switched and the program came to a close.