SPHS Class of 2017 recognized at commencement

HOMEWOOD – The Spain Park High School Class of 2017—called the “hope for the future” by its principal—was honored at its commencement ceremony on Tuesday, May 23.

The graduation was held at the Pete Hanna Center at Samford University.

As the audience filed in, senior class Vice President Jacob Rich led the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Spain Park Chamber Choir led by director Jim Schaeffer and soloist Savannah Fike performed “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

After an invocation from senior class Chaplain Hope Dawson, the Chamber Choir performed “The Road Home” with soloist Melodi Shaw.

SPHS Principal Larry Giangrosso welcomed those in attendance and introduced officials for the school, school system and city of Hoover.

Valedictory speakers Jackson Gutshall, Fizza Mahmood and Margaret Baldwin were selected by the group of valedictorians, Giangrosso said.

Gutshall said one characteristic of success will be the same for all of the 389 graduates regardless of their backgrounds.

“Although our situations may not look the same, we still have to work hard,” Gutshall said.

Mahmood encouraged her fellow graduates to be “hopeful, strong and adventurous.”

“Our futures have endless possibilities,” Mahmood said. “We are the movers and shapers of the world.”

Baldwin said graduating is “an amazing feat” but stressed that receiving a diploma is not the ultimate goal.

“Spain Park has given us a sturdy foundation, but we must continue to build,” Baldwin said.

The other valedictorians were Jenna Alkhatib, Abhimanyu Arora, Devin Hagan, Kameron Hagerla, Erin Hartwiger, Chase Nord, Meredith Schoel and William Zhao.

Senior class President Thomas Jordan said one’s time in high school goes by fast.

“Looking back, it seems like just yesterday we were walking through those doors as baby freshmen,” Jordan said. “Spain Park is a truly special place with truly special people. I hope you cherished your time.”

Giangrosso then introduced principals from Spain Park feeder schools and SPHS administrators.

Giangrosso said expectations for the graduates’ lives will change as they enter a new phase: They will have to advocate for themselves, solve problems that older generations were unable to solve and provide the tools, work ethic and integrity future generations will need to learn.

“The tasks before you are great,” Giangrosso said. “The tasks before you are challenging and at times may seem insurmountable. My hope for the future is here before you.”

The graduates then received diplomas and certificates.

Senior class officers included Jordan; Rich; Anna Tamburello, secretary; Paras Ahuja, treasurer; Dawson; Skye Causey, publicity coordinator; Mary Alice Crocker, historian; Morgan Lambert and Christian Strong, spirit coordinators; Taylor Brent and Kenya Harris, event coordinators; Rachel Miller and Rob Stone, faculty liaison; and Sarah Lynn Sharpton and Kara Warren, community liaison.

SGA officers included Brooke Gilliam, president; Alyssa Gaston, vice president; Lauren Lovell, secretary; Mimi Martens, treasurer; Adam Shoupe, chaplain; Halle Hoagland, historian; and Caroline Bagwell, Mary Carson Collins, Brennen Cooke, Tiffany Craig, Rachel Dees, Riley DiClemente, Tucker Hagood, Jamal Johnson, Jade Jolly, Trevor Kulkis, Ann Odom, Kathryn Rivers, Gordie Stewart and Parker Wilson, senior representatives.