Valedictorian Dominic Conricode delivers a speech about the uncertainty of the future and the need to make the most of every day to his fellow graduates on June 5. (Contributed Photo)

KING CITY — For the first time in its existence, King City High School hosted a virtual graduation for the Class of 2020 last Friday rather than an in-person ceremony.

A similar array of speeches and recognitions were given during the online broadcast, held over a Zoom meeting.

“Class of 2020, you have definitely lived through many ups and downs in your lifetime,” said Principal Janet Sánchez Matos. “You were born when our country was grieving over 9/11 and today you are graduating as the world and we find ourselves in the middle of a pandemic.”

Matos described the Class of 2020 as being able to teach other generations about optimism and the ability and willingness to adapt to change.

“One word that describes the Class of 2020 is resilience,” she said.

Valedictorian Dominic Conricode said the timing of the global pandemic gives him and his fellow graduates a “unique perspective on the uncertainty of life.”

“We weren’t sure when or how it would happen, but here we all are, connected through our screens to celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2020,” Conricode said. “… It was going to be our special year, but we didn’t expect anything out of the ordinary to happen. It seems that the closure that the end of high school should have brought us is missing.”

The challenges faced by the graduates were something to learn from, said their principal.

“As you leave King City High School and enter the world as young adults, please make sure to seize the moment,” Matos said. “Do not take people or things for granted. One day we have them, but in a second they can be taken away.”

Conricode reflected on how seniors ate lunch and sat in classes with favorite teachers, only for it all to go away.

“We said goodbye almost three months too early,” he said. “As we reminisce on our high school experience, we realize that these things can’t be taken for granted.”

As Matos gave a farewell to her school’s latest group of graduates, she said, “Problems are simply opportunities for you to give the best of yourself and to prove to the world what you are capable of.”

Conricode believes the message the universe is trying to give them is to cherish what they have while they have it.

“As we go forward into the rest of our lives, we should remember to enjoy the little things and never take anything for granted, and live in the moment,” he said. “Because you never know when it all can be taken away from you.”

King City High School will present graduates with diplomas in person during a graduation planned for July 31. Whether it is a walking or a drive-through graduation will be determined in early July.

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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