Senior class of Royals receive diplomas at in-person graduation ceremony
Hundreds of students, family members, faculty and staff donned their sunglasses to attend the San Marcos High School commencement Wednesday evening, looking ahead to the bright future of the 427 graduating seniors.
The sunny evening at Warkentin Stadium was filled with joy — with the graduating women dressed in their red gowns and the men dressed in blue. Faculty led them in black gowns, with masks reading “Royals, Class of 2021.”
Before the senior class strolled in during “Pomp and Circumstance,” those who made it early got to hear speeches from San Marcos seniors Lux Coker, Isabella Magness and Jordan Klanfer. After that, lucky parents and family members got to hear their seniors thank them in pre-recorded shoutouts played over the speaker system.
Then, with the scenic mountain backdrop and a slight breeze blowing, the seniors walked onto the stadium, determined and ready for the next steps ahead.
After the flag salute by Andrea Lising, the senior class singers belted out the National Anthem, followed by an intimate acoustic version of Hugh Jackman’s “From Now On,” which was met with boisterous applause, hoots, hollers and, surely, a tear or two.
The keynote speaker, San Marcos’ principal, Dr. Kip Glazer, had to wipe a few tears away herself as she approached the podium. She even had to stop after a couple words, saying the moment was “very emotional” for her.
However, she pushed on, much like she said the Class of 2021 did.
Dr. Glazer compared her graduating seniors to Frodo and Samwise from the classic “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, who were both chosen to save all of Middle Earth from evil.
“Toward the end of their challenging journey filled with extreme danger, tired and defeated, Frodo asked his friend Sam why they should go on,” Dr. Glazer said. “To that, Samwise answered, ‘It is like the great stories, Mr. Frodo — the ones that really mattered, full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes, you didn’t want to know the end, because how could the end be happy?
“But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass.’”
The principal told her students that Frodo and Samwise kept going because they were holding onto something. She said she felt similar fear when she was asked to become principal of San Marcos two years ago — becoming the “pandemic principal.”
“I thought about turning back, but I remembered that there was a lot of good in this world. I knew San Marcos was something good that was worth fighting for, which I did,” Dr. Glazer said. “And I was right.”
The class was presented and diplomas were handed out, followed by Dr. Fann Wageneck, assistant superintendent of special education and student services, presenting the acceptance of the class.
The faculty sent off the San Marcos Class of 2021 into numerous fields — construction, culinary, entrepreneurship, health and teaching. Students earned their Bi-Literacy Seals, Golden State Seals and Principal’s Awards, and they were recognized for being involved in the National Honor Society and the California Scholarship Federation.
Dr. Glazer walked her students through the hardships they overcame as well, from finishing their junior year on Zoom to navigating hybrid learning — “… whatever that was,” she added.
“So the Class of 2021, I urge you to remember that you truly are the hero of your own epic story,” the principal told the seniors. “Just like Frodo and Samwise, you are called upon to step up and fulfill your destiny. Their story ended when Frodo dropped the ring into the fire, while your epic story is just beginning.”
The San Marcos community gathered at Warkentin Stadium Wednesday evening celebrated more than just another class entering adult life — they celebrated an in-person event, with students spaced only three feet apart. They celebrated the nearing light, normalcy, at the end of the tunnel. Most importantly, they celebrated their students making it through every challenge thrown their way.
Dr. Glazer closed her speech saying, “You’re all my heroes for being here, and I’m so proud to be your principal. And this ceremony, this is for you. This is our way of expressing how much we love you and respect you as young adults.
“So let’s get you that diploma — you’ve earned it.”