Brenna McCarron gives her salutatorian address during the Wednesday, May 22, 2019 graduation ceremony for students at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Brenna McCarron gives her salutatorian address during the Wednesday, May 22, 2019 graduation ceremony for students at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Homer High graduates reflect on community, look forward to future

The ceremony for Homer High School’s 84 graduates last Wednesday reflected two things local students are good at: appreciating their small, tight-knit community, and thinking far beyond themselves and the community of Homer.

Salutatorian Brenna McCarron related several memories she has with various students, not only from high school but from the years spent growing up together in a small town.

“I will spare you a speech talking about our entries into the real world or one in which I describe how bright all our futures are because Ali, let’s be honest, yours is a little questionable,” she said, making a joke to her twin sister who sitting with the rest of the graduates. “No, I want to spend this time talking about how awesome it was to grow up with you guys and how thankful I am for my Homer education.”

She spoke of the benefits to growing up in a small town where she knew each and every one of her classmates.

“Looking out at all my classmates tonight, I not only know everybody’s name, but I have specific memories with each and every one of you — something that you don’t get at a school with thousands of kids,” McCarron said.

Taking a more outward view, valedictorian Avram Salzmann began his speech by simply reading 49 names. No introduction, no explanation — just the 49 names, as he later explained in the speech, of the high school seniors who were not able to graduate after being killed by gun violence in schools.

Salzmann asked the assembled crowd to take a moment of silence to honor those students.

“We’re done with high school, and every single one of us made it,” he said. “We are lucky to go to school where we feel safe, surrounded by a community that has our backs. That means it’s up to us, moving forward, to ensure we work actively against gun violence, especially in our schools.”

Salzmann’s speech was a call to action for his fellow graduates to do better moving forward and to not be hampered down by regrets. He reminded his classmates that every one of them matters, and that they can have an impact on this world whether they think they can or not. He urged them to vote now that many of them have the ability to, citing climate change and its impending effects on the earth as a major hurdle his generation has to overcome.

Homer High School students select the person or people who give their commencement address each year. This year, it was given by two very familiar faces — school secretaries Anita Harry and Cindy Koplin. The pair not only shared their advice for heading off into the future, but also memories of the students stretching back before high school.

In his comments, Principal Doug Waclawski praised the graduating class for being truly good people. He reiterated that he said good, “not perfect,” and reminded the graduates not to act better than anyone else.

A large group of students were also honored Wednesday for having earned some portion of 30 local and state scholarships, from the Homer Elks Lodge Scholarship to the University of Alaska Scholars Award.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

Homer High School class of 2019 graduates:

Seth Michael Adkins

Calvin Kai Anderson

Asia Aileen Angeles-Hanson

Clayton N. Arndt

Sidney Jo Bechtol

Meadow Rhythm Beckett-Cook

Anna Madelena Brock

James Andrew Campbell

Sienna Andrews Carey

Daniel Louis Carter

Theodore Joseph Castellani

Katherine Susann Clark

Garrett Leigh Cooper

Katelyn Marie Davis

Luciano Ignacio Fasulo

Emilia Rhianne Halstead

Theodore Isaac Handley

Hunter Stanley Harrington

Brianna Marle Hetrick

Katia Willow Holmes

Elias Firewolf Huffman

Hannah Noel Inama

Seth James Inama

Emelia Rae Jacobsen

Ciara Rose Jones

Adrienne Janell King

Brooke Makenzie Knott

Solstice Morning Kraszeski

Isabel Ann Kulhanek

Dexter Brown Lowe

Leland Lowe

Kimberly Zulay Lynn

Galen David Lyon

Jadin Russell Mann

Corbin D Mattingly

Alison Frances McCarron

Brenna Claire McCarron

Japheth Jonathan McGhee

Titus William McGhee

Summer RoseMcGuire

Alexander Demarco Miller

Jacob Steven Moore

Jakob Wells Nelson

Katlian Marie Nelson

Wayne Robert Newman

Cora Elizabeth Parish

Hunter Davis Patton

Haley Renae Raymond

Kaitlin Celeste Rios

Jesse Michael Roach

Connor Matthew Roderick

Anthony Levi Roth

Henry Rolan Russell

Avram Noah Dov Salzmann

Matthew Eugen Sargeant

Kelsea Morgan Scott

Calla Jolaine Seay

Skyler Robert Shadle

Ethan Cirrus Smith

Ian Jacob Stovall

Willem Larsen Strydom

Wynand Lester Strydom

Andrew Michael Super

Stanly A. Swoboda

Ian Christopher Taylor

Desmond David Vanliere

Amiyah Shannell Varga

Warren, Hunter Jay Warren

Allison M. Wells

Evan Atkinson Welty

Erica Lynn White

Avram Salzmann gives his valedictorian address during the Wednesday, May 22, 2019 graduation ceremony for Homer High School’s class of 2019 at the school in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Avram Salzmann gives his valedictorian address during the Wednesday, May 22, 2019 graduation ceremony for Homer High School’s class of 2019 at the school in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A Homer High School graduate waits for the graduation ceremony in her cap decorated with a map of Kachemak Bay on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at the high school in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A Homer High School graduate waits for the graduation ceremony in her cap decorated with a map of Kachemak Bay on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at the high school in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

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