Congratulating North Hawaii high school graduates

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Honokaa High School valedictorians, from left, Malia Stout, Tony Connors, Kasey Matsumoto, Nicole Tabac and Hildhang Adona, pose for a photo. (COURTESY PHOTO BY SARAH ANDERSON)
From left, Koa Bartsch, Carley Arraujo and Eloisa Obero celebrate after graduation. (PHOTO COURTESY OF KOHALA HIGH SCHOOL)
Kimi Cantyne gives her speech at the Hawaii Preparatory Academy graduation on May 23. (COURTESY PHOTO BY BOB FEWELL PHOTOGRAPHY)
Eloisa Obero poses for a photo with her lei after graduation. (PHOTO COURTESY OF KOHALA HIGH SCHOOL)
Carley Arraujo before graduation from Kohala High School. (PHOTO COURTESY OF KOHALA HIGH SCHOOL)
Koa Bartsch poses bedecked with lei. (PHOTO COURTESY OF KOHALA HIGH SCHOOL)

By now, North Hawaii schools have celebrated commencement exercises for the graduating classes from Kohala High School, Kanu o ka Aina, Honokaa High School, Parker School and Hawaii Preparatory Academy.

We at North Hawaii News congratulate the Class of 2014 graduates. Their hard work and perseverance, along with the support of their parents and grandparents, carried them through the last 13 years. May the unique gifts and contributions of every graduate continue to positively transform the North Hawaii community.

Following are excerpts from the graduation speeches delivered at area commencement exercises.

Lysha Matsunobu

Parker School valedictorian

Will attend Stanford University

When I think of our class, I think of countless camp outs, advisories, and retreats, our sophomore talent show, lip sync contests, school dances, and May Days running Makahiki games. I think of our senior lounge, how we’ve learned to make food just disappear in there, … and the initiation of impromptu dance parties, classical styles of course, jazz, Broadway, ballet, etc. It’s you guys that make this speech original. You guys are the originals for me.

Every interaction, every inside joke, secret handshake, quarrel, or bonding moment has contributed some part in making me the person that I am. I would say that even with all of the world’s information at our fingertips, every day being yourselves is being original because none of you are the remake of someone else.

… So here’s my final thought. Let’s challenge ourselves to always be originals. In the new friends and teachers we will have, classes we will take, roads we’ll travel, and memories we’ll make, if our lives are the sum total of our experiences let them all be original …

“Celebrate, we graduate! Tonight is the night, future in our sight. We’ve arrived, time of our lives. To four years here we say goodbye. Adios, class with the most, excuse me if I boast — today’s breakfast of champions, eggs, bacon and toast. I just needed that rhyme to take up some time cause moves like Jagger, no one can top our swagger. We be letting go like Idina Menzel and even if we mess up, nobody can tell. We be rolling right out, kick, scream, and shout, “Thank you!” teachers, families and friends, we’re thankful to you when our night never ends. Because we, class of two zero one four, we’re gonna make it. Simple as that. Nothing more … Doing that rap was too irresistible. Congrats Class of twenty-fourteen! That was all for you.

Anthony Connors

Honokaa High School valedictorian

Will attend Colorado College in Colorado Springs

Class of 2014, once we walk out those doors we’ll be graduates, and we can add this to our memory books. Our time together has ended, and each one of you will take a different path after today. Remember we are Dragons, we will always retain a little of that spark that we first found here. No matter where we go or what we do, we can always return here and be home. May you all live life fully, enjoy the challenges and success that you are sure to find. But remember where you come from, remember your friendship and mentors you have had at Honokaa. Remember the good times and the bad, because they are all now a part of you, and remember that Honokaa Dragons will always be part of your ohana. Enjoy the journey — it will pass all too fast. Congratulations!

Malia Stout

Honokaa High School valedictorian

Will attend University of Hawaii at Manoa

Look at the person that’s going to be sitting next to you for the next hour or two, then look around at the whole class sitting in the senior stands. It sounds a little unreal — I mean, most of us have known each other for at least four years of high school, and many of us know each other all the way back from kindergarten — but this is going to be the last point that we’re all going to be in the same place, at the same time. And that’s OK, because I know that all of you will be going off to new and greater things.

Cathryn Kimi Cantyne

Hawaii Preparatory Academy student council president

Will attend Wagner College

I had been subconsciously avoiding writing this speech because my mind thought that I could not handle even the notion of graduating. And my mind was right. Think about it. Think about everything that we will be leaving behind. Think about our beautiful campus: The deep, unavoidable troughs of mud outlining the art building. The way that fog settles on the field, appearing to consume the entire tree line and everything beyond it. The grueling, yet enchanting, hike up to the energy lab that requires at least 10 minutes of traveling time. The way that you can’t get around campus without being stopped, at least once, by a smiling face. How do we say goodbye to our HPA wonderland?

… Let’s also think of the individuals who have helped prepare us for today.

(Think about) our teachers and advisors, both helping and pushing us through our academic, athletic, artistic, and social challenges for the past four years.

Think about our families –the individuals who have been gracious enough to send us to HPA and to support us through our experiences here. Think about everything they have done for us: from giving us our first breath, to giving us a reason to keep breathing. Our families who made it to every game whether or not we won; every meet, whether or not we placed; every performance, whether or not we starred; either they were there physically or they were there spiritually, but they were always supportive, encouraging, and loving. Now they are here, but this time we will all win, we will all place, and we will all star. They nourished our minds, bodies, and souls with all they had to offer.

Fill your senses with the essence of this moment; of our moment, and exude gratitude from every pore in your body.

I am so excited to see what the 108 exquisite, unique individuals of our class will do to contribute to the world. We have so much potential, so much vitality, so much time: let’s do something that we can proud of, and share our successes with the Class of 2014.

Koa Bartsch

Kohala High School valedictorian

Will attend University of Portland

Despite how honored and how awesome I feel, I am not here today to speak of myself. I could go on and on about how I accomplished this and that and how hard I worked. But I’m not gonna do that. Because this commencement ceremony isn’t about me. It isn’t even about you, or you, or you, or you. It isn’t about any of us as individuals. Today, for this moment we sacrifice our individuality to be united as one body of graduates. It’s about us together. It’s about the unity and oneness of our great accomplishment that we are here to celebrate today. This is about our success …

On the end of each row there are boxes of chocolates. I want the people on the ends of the row to pick a chocolate and pass the box down. Please don’t take too long. Just grab one and pass it down. These chocolates represent your lives. You may get one you like, or you may get one you don’t like. Either way, what you get is what you get. Be appreciative for the things you like and have the courage to change the things you don’t. From there, all you have to do is decide what to do with the time that you are given.

Forest Gump said, and I quote, “Momma always said life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”

It’s true. When we are born, our lives are handed to us and we don’t get to choose. We are blind and don’t get to look into the box of lives and pick one out. Now, we are adults. We are responsible and don’t have to be blind anymore. We can now reach into that box and choose a new life for ourselves. With inner strength and resolve, determination and enthusiasm summoned from deep within our hearts as well as with the help of the guiding hand of God and his divine providence, we can shape each of our lives into the one we always envisioned. Let’s go get ‘em and set the world on fire graduates! Thank you.

Eloisa Obero

Kohala High School valedictorian

Will attend University of Hawaii at Hilo

Where do I even begin? To be honest, all year, I had dreaded for this day to come. Graduation is a bittersweet moment. This moment marks the very beginning of our future; however to start our way into the real world, we are parting ways with people we have known most of our lives. In a town as small as ours, everyone grew up together and along the way, created many good friendships.

I want to share something I learned from my four years of high school:

1. Do not be friends with procrastination, or you will fail.

2. If you have a problem, there’s always someone who is willing to listen and give advice.

3. Don’t let anyone: friends, parents, family, boyfriend or girlfriend hold you back. You can do anything you set your mind to.

4. Math didn’t just teach us how to add, subtract, divide, and multiply numbers. It taught us that every problem could be solved in several ways.

5. School is not about getting good grades. It’s about putting yourself through hard work to obtain a greater perspective and knowledge.

6. It’s impossible to try and beat everyone. Your competition is only yourself. Be a better, improved you.

7. Experiences from high school shape the person we are meant to be.

…. After 12 years, 144 months, 4,383 days, today is the beginning of the rest of our lives … Carpe diem! Seize the day like there’s no tomorrow. Congratulations, Class of 2014. We did it!

Carley Arraujo

Kohala High School valedictorian

Will attend University of Puget Sound

It’s finally here. Graduation Day. The day we’ve all been waiting for. It has been such a long, long rigorous road. I hope I speak for all of us when I say we would not be here if it weren’t for the love and support of the people who have helped us over the years, for all that they have provided us with and more so for all the skills they have taught us so we can provide for ourselves.

I’d personally like to thank:

My family: Those among us and those in heart, for knowing my potential and settling for nothing less; for pushing me and motivating me throughout my life.

My Friends: For supporting and believing in me in even times of self-doubt.

My Teachers: Ms. Brown, Ms. White, Ms. Nietfeld, and all the rest.

Getting here has not been easy; thank you for helping me to achieve my goals and making my dreams a reality with your love, dedication, and patience.

The struggle is real, and nowhere near over. Now we are adults, in the real world but one day, we will all be just a memory to some people, so do your best to make your memory count! Here’s to a memorable Kohala High School senior Class of 2014.