LIHUE — As she prepared to walk down the red carpet of the graduation ceremony and receive her high school diploma, senior Bailee McCune could barely contain her happiness.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “I’m excited for new beginnings and for new chapters and my years at Kauai High have been really great.”
As McCune and the estimated 250 graduates took their seats on Vidinha Stadium’s football field, the Friday night ceremony included opening remarks by Principal Anne Kane in addition to speeches made by senior class president Marielle Yano and associated student body president Brayden Antonio.
Speeches were also made by the 2015 class’ 10 valedictorians who spoke about the theme “aude sapere,” meaning “dare to know.”
As he spoke about how the D represents dare in the theme, Raymart Ballesteros smiled as he stood before his fellow graduates.
“When growing up, we find the word dare used for entertainment as we played the game ‘truth or dare,’” he said. “We would dare each other to complete such ridiculous tasks for amusement and humiliation, however what we fail to notice is that the word dare denotes having the courage to do something, define or challenging to do something.”
As he made his closing remarks, Ballesteros dared his classmates to be the best they could be in the future.
“I dare you not to dally after today and grow through life lackadaisically,” he said. “I dare you to stay active, to know that you can always achieve something meaningful if you have the right mindset.”
Valedictorian Kiana Okino spoke about the first E in “aude sapere,” which represents experience.
“The high school experience goes far beyond knowing the definition of illiteration,” she said. “It teaches students the importance of perseverance, perspective and passion and although it may have felt at times like the sky was falling, we realize that it wasn’t.”
Senior class adviser Kathy Morishige was filled with both joy and sadness as she watched her students fulfill their high school journey.
“Making history is just part of what they believe in,” she said. “They’ve been a very interesting class to work with, definitely outside the box, wanting to do different things and it’s exciting. These kids are awesome.”
As the graduates move onto into their futures, seniors like McCune are ready to welcome the experience with open arms.
“I feel like it’ll be something that I’m really looking forward to and that I’ll work hard in,” she said. “I just see what my parents have done with their degrees and I want to do the same and I want to make sure that I’m stable and I have a great education.”