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Ponderosa Class of 2014: So we beat on

Feeling the beat at the PHS graduation ceremony

by Ross Passeck, Ponderosa Class of 2014
Originally featured in Pradera Living magazine


When the doors closed behind the Class of 2014, the halls were not littered with a sea of obsolete worksheets and notes. There was no looming imminence of a senior prank, no threat of vandalism. Though, as was expected, Ponderosa High School no longer held the class of 2014. Their energies and passions turned to that of the intimidating yet captivating world before them.

Upon a glance, one would have assumed this class had been atrophied by twelve years of grade school: “No senior prank? No celebrations ringing in the hallways?” However, the truth must be fully understood. This class was not the average product of four years of high school. This class would not let the moniker of “average” stick to them. There simply was no room amongst their many accolades, accomplishments, and particularly their attitudes for such a claim of mediocrity to hold true. Each student may have entered Ponderosa High School as a pompous or sniveling freshmen, but they did not leave merely as victorious seniors. They left with bold composure, well tested minds, and resolute passions instilled in them by any one of Ponderosa’s incredible staff.

For those who attended the graduation ceremony there was no better illustration of this class’ experience, as well as its impact, within Ponderosa. Matt Goodrich and Frederick Tan, the class Valedictorian and Salutatorian respectively, took the stage to bid their fellow classmates the best of luck in their future endeavors. Then the beat dropped. The two most studious and academic people in the whole of Ponderosa were rapping; slamming down rhymes, busting out analogies, anecdotes, any lyricism their microphones could handle for the most epic commencement rap of all time. The shock of their audience was palpable amongst graduates and loved ones alike. So was the laughter.

Matt and Frederick made this graduation more than a rumination of the past and a day for vague optimism. Together they carried the spirit of the class of 2014 and charged headfirst into the blinding light of the future. More so, they managed to encapsulate what it meant to be a member of Ponderosa’s class of 2014. They saw something as challenging as giving a speech before the limitless scrutiny of thousands of people and decided to make it a live rap performance. This embodied the creative drive and the daring nature with which every student left Ponderosa.

While that was undoubtedly a daunting act to follow, Mr. Gary Cordray completed the image of this class’ experience within Ponderosa’s walls. Cordray delivered a speech so genuine, so void of cliché and immaterial pandering that it was no challenge to see how this class emerged so capable and so unwavering in its desire to make its mark on this world. 

This class was blessed with many incredible teachers to guide them down the road to success. Most notably, this was the final class within Ponderosa to reap the benefits of a math teacher like retiree Brett Crock, whose unyielding patience and dizzying knowledge of his field could rectify even the most downtrodden of students, or a social studies teacher like Paul Molé, whose fantastic personality met with such incredible teaching ability to produce only the most memorable classes. The roster of teachers whom left indelible marks upon their students continued in every avenue of academia.

Ponderosa’s class of 2014: a thought to behold. Admire what they have done. Dream of what they will do. Meanwhile, they will be moving forward into the world with tenacity, working hard, accomplishing the great, and impacting in the only way this class knew how, being extraordinary.

June 3, 2014 | By SCPaulsen | Category: Ponderosa High School, High School Education

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