By Christine Baker, TSB Contributor
“Take a look at everyone around you. This is the last time we will ever be together as a class.”
McKinney High School salutatorian Jennifer Zotz said those words that made everything surreal. Walking the stage to graduate last week was something that none of us will forget.
Everyone always said, “We’re seniors and now it’s all over,” but walking the stage, listening to the speeches, and watching the senior video made the end so much more realistic and made everyone realize that this truly was the last time we would ever be together as an entire class. Some of us have known each other since Kindergarten and watching those classmates walk the stage made you wonder if you’re ever going to see any of them again.
This same thought ran through about 1,400 minds this past Friday at Prestonwood Baptist Church, when all of our McKinney graduates walked the stage and said their goodbyes one last time.
“Graduation for me was definitely bittersweet,” Megan Noonan said. “I’m ready to move on and head to college and start working on my future, but at the same time the memories, great experiences, and friends I have made through my high school years are at an end.”
“I was thinking the whole time, ‘It’s really over; we’re done,’ ” Emily Neerings said.
During the ceremony certain speeches, speakers, and moments stood out to individual graduates.
“I think (MHS principal Stewart) Herrington’s speech stood out to me the most,” Kristyn Leung said. “Because it was his last speech and it was really touching.”
“I may be silly, but what stood out to me the most was Abie Chao’s presentation of the class gift,” Riley Phillips said. “His ‘Heallo!’ made me crack up.”
“Not only was the senior video a tear jerker, the thing that stuck out the most was Mr. Herrington announcing that, ‘The last bell has rung and class is dismissed,’ ” Megan said.
PROJECT GRADUATION A BLAST
After all three MISD schools finished their ceremonies on this day, the real fun started. At 10 p.m. the doors opened at Myers Park for all MISD seniors to join the infamous Project Graduation. This is an event for all of the high schools to be together one last time. From 10 p.m.-5:30 a.m., students could win cash prizes and enter the drawing for a car, but here’s the catch: If you leave early you can’t collect your cash or win prizes. You have to stay until the very end and be present during the drawings. This year the winner of the car, a Nissan Altima, was given to Alyssa Ellis from McKinney High School.
“My favorite part of project graduation was probably the blow-up obstacle courses and different games they had for us to win casino money, so we could bet.” Nicole Gostic said. “I didn’t win any prizes but I did win $125 which was awesome, but my least favorite part was that parents who volunteered were giving their child handfuls of money and it was obvious and unfair.”
“I loved the bounce houses and I won $50,” Kristyn said.
“My favorite part was all of the volunteers that made it amazing,” Riley said. “The dealers, the raffle women, and everyone just made the night really fun. I won $50 in raffles, a $500 check because my family donated to project graduation and a 23-inch TV.”
THE FUTURE AWAITS
At the end of the event, hundreds of grumpy graduates rushed to collect their prizes and go home to get some well deserved sleep. Now that we have walked the stage and seen of our classmates for the last time we will all go on to fulfill our dreams and strive to be successful in our careers.
“I will be attending Collin College on a $5,000 scholarship and then I plan to transfer once I earn my Associates degree and have an idea of what to study for my profession.” Megan said.
“I’m actually a camp counselor at Camp Constantine right now,” Riley said. “But I plan to go to Texas Tech in the fall for general business or political science.”
“I’m attending UT Austin in the fall as a nursing major,” Emily said. “I’m also participating in the NROTC unit up there.”
“I’m happy that summer is here and school is over but I am really going to miss McKinney High,” Nicole said. “And I have so many amazing memories here and I am truly sad to leave.” Nicole said. “But in the fall I will be attending St. Edwards University in Austin to play soccer.”
“I’m going to Francis Marion University in South Carolina in the fall to play soccer and get a degree in biology,” Kristyn said.
Now that it’s all been said done, it seems to be a bittersweet ending for most of us and, although we are ecstatic to start our new lives in college, we will never forget the friends and memories we made in McKinney. As Mr. Herrington would say, “The last bell has rung and class is dismissed.”
Congratulations Class of 2012, we did it.