Spain Park graduates look forward to the next chapter in their lives

HOMEWOOD – Those dressed in caps and gowns at Samford University’s Pete Hanna Center on Wednesday, May 22, reflected on 2,340 school days—and even more moments that were created during those days.

“All of which have led up to this moment,” Spain Park High School Valedictorian Benjamin Hartwiger said about the number of school days for the students from kindergarten through their senior year, but added: “Our time in school is more than just a number.”

“Amidst uncertainty, one thing is certain: Spain Park has made an impact on us.”

Hartwiger asked the graduates what they would do over the next 2,340 days, and the 2,340 days after that.

“Your answer is not a sentence or a quote,” he said. “Your answer is action, and your answer starts right now.”

If their high school careers are any indication, the next however many days for the graduates will be filled with great things: One hundred forty-one colleges and universities in 34 states offered admission to the Spain Park Class of 2019.

Senior Class Vice President Parker Boswell led attendees of the commencement ceremony in the Pledge of Allegiance, the Spain Park Chamber Choir performed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Senior Class Chaplain Sara Grace Estill gave the invocation and the choir then performed The Beatles’ “In My Life.”

Senior Class President Josh Wallace said he, like the rest of the about 360 graduates, was full of happiness and a sense of accomplishment.

“Spain Park has become my second home these past four years,” Wallace said. “Whether you love Spain Park or not, it has shaped our lives and our futures. Take a second and take it all in because as we’ve all experienced, life goes by fast.”

Principal Larry Giangrosso told the graduates that upon receiving their diplomas, the expectations for them will change, and that three things will be asked of them: society will ask them to become advocates for themselves, the previous generation will ask them to solve the problems they couldn’t solve, and the next generation will ask them to give them the tools to solve the problems they couldn’t solve.

“You who sit before us tonight will accomplish these tasks,” Giangrosso said.