Cabrillo sends of Class of 2019
Like every high school student, Kailey McNamee entered high school worried and frightened, faced with unknown challenges and difficulties.
What students typically felt in the classroom was felt by Kailey in her real life after her dad, Craig, was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer in 2014.
Craig missed his son’s first high school football game and did all he could to make it to the next one. He was able to do so, and Kailey fondly remembered the look on his face.
“He was exactly where he wanted to be,” she said, holding back tears as she gave the “CONQ”uer Address during Cabrillo High’s commencement ceremony Thursday. “With his family.”
A short time later, Craig’s battle ended and Kailey lost her father. It’s a lifestyle she admits that she will never get used to, but was grateful for the staff at Cabrillo to help her persevere. She considers her dad the most remarkable man she has ever met, and is still inspired on how hard he fought.
“I’m the person I am today because of my dad,” she said. “I believe that God only gives his hardest battles to his strongest shoulders.”
As Kailey addressed the graduates, she encouraged them to continue to chase their dreams.
“No matter what, you can always overcome as long as you keep looking for the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said. “Although you may not see it right away, it’ll be there.”
As she concluded her speech, dozens of members of the audience gave her a standing ovation.
Before Kailey shared her story, senior ASB President Danan Pacheco shared memories the students have shared over the years — from athletics, school dances, theater and more.
“We started our high school career confused, nervous, excited and a little queasy,” he said. “And now we enter this next chapter of our lives… pretty much the exact same way.”
Ninety percent of the graduates will attend a two- or four-year university, 11 have enlisted in the U.S. Military, four were awarded ROTC scholarships and one student will be attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. In total, the students earned more than $900,000 in scholarships, Danan said.
“We may not know what the future holds for us, but as for me I will hold on to each and every one of you and call you my friends forever,” he said. “Together, we can conquer anything.”
As Danan addressed the crowd, he asked the graduates to thank one another and tell them they love each other. A mic on stage picked up the sound of several students sharing sentiments, as well as other side chatter that drew laughs from the audience.
Kailani Dial gave the scholar address and she encouraged the graduates to cherish the friendships and bonds they have created, celebrate their success and remember their failures — while continuing to move forward to pursue their goals.
“No matter what our paths may be, we are all destined for all our own success,” she said. “We are the future and we have the power to change the world with our actions.”
Josh Rowe, the ASB senior class treasurer, said that the senior class donated $1,500 to the Class of 2020, $300 to the freshman class of ASB, and another $1,500 was put toward mural supplies on campus to allow the senior class to create a mural to leave their mark on campus.
Principal Isidro Carrasco addressed the crowd after the students. With 3.6 million students set to graduate from high school this year, the nearly 250 graduates at Cabrillo are hardly a splash in the bucket compared to the rest of the nation. That doesn’t mean they can’t create lasting change, he said.
“It seems like a small number, but I believe you will have a great impact on the world around us,” he said.
He then discussed the leaderships qualities that each of the students will carry with them.
“Each one of you here have more influence in the world around you than you think,” said Mr. Carrasco. “Often we say to our graduates ‘you are the leaders of tomorrow and the future,’ but I say to you this afternoon that you are the leaders of today.”
Mr. Carrasco then honored the 23 students who earned the distinction of Legion Academic Merit for achieving GPA between 4.0 and 4.3 and announced that Shelby Wuitschick won the Golden Fleece award for service to the school through extracurriculars. Sam Ricci won the Millo Wilde Award, named after the school’s first principal.
The graduates then crossed the stage for the final time as students.
The girls were dressed in gold and the boys in black, and as the students made their way to the football field for their ceremony. As the Cabrillo Symphony Orchestra played “Pomp and Circumstance,” the students were greeted by anxious friends and family members – many of whom pulled out their cell phones to capture the moment.
The crowd took to their feet as the Vandenberg Air Force Base Honor Guard presented the colors before the reciting of the “Star Spangled Banner” and the school alma mater.
As the students crossed the stage they got cheers from the crowd. Some brought along confetti to shoot in the air or air horns to sound to honor the graduates. Members of the band also got into the action, as several played jingles as the names were announced.