Cordova High School presents the class of 2018

Family and friends applaud for the Cordova High School Class of 2018, as they make their way toward the stage. (Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times)

Eighteen high school seniors, led by valedictorian Corrine “Cori” Pegau and salutatorian Joscelyn “Josi” Moffitt, received their Cordova High School diplomas on May 19, in an auditorium packed with family, friends and other well-wishers.

The high school band played the opening processional, followed by the high school choir, singing the Star-Spangled Banner.

High school Principal Kate Williams welcomed the class and the audience to the ceremonies. Music teacher Chelsea Corrao was chosen by the senior class as guest speaker for the evening.

Pegau and Moffitt delivered their respective valedictory and salutatory speeches and Cordova High School counselor Micki Dunn announced several scholarship awards, followed by the presentation of the class, clad in mortarboard caps and black gowns, by Williams. School board president Barb Jewell and Alex Russin, CHS superintendent presented the seniors with their diplomas.

Festivities honoring the senior class followed commencement in the commons area.


SALUTATORIAN SPEECH

Salutatorian Joscelyn ÒJosiÓ Moffitt spoke to her fellow classmates about their past and offered encouragement for their futures. (Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times)

Moffitt: Remember the people who got you here

Joscelyn “Josi” Moffitt, Cordova High School’s Class of 2018 Salutatorian, delivered this speech during commencement exercises on May 19, 2018.

Superintendent Alex Russin, School Board President Barb Jewel and School Board members, Principal Kate Williams, teachers, staff members, coaches, parents, fellow classmates, and friends; I would like to thank each of you for the part you have played in getting us to this point today.

Before we began writing our speeches, it was decided that the valedictorian would talk about the future and I would talk about the past— on the grounds that out of the two of us, I have the better memory. Well, I’m not really sure how that was decided. Because to be honest, my memory is not that great. However, I do remember that we have been through quite a lot together.

If you haven’t been with our class for a very long time, here are some highlights to fill you in on some of the things we’ve learned over our years together!

Kindergarten with Ms. Moffitt, AKA Mom. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten? How to dance to the song Sneaky Snake. First and second grade. We had Mrs. Cave as a teacher two years in a row. I wonder why she retired immediately after? Third grade. Four words: “The Great Kapok Tree.” Sixth grade. 2012 Snowpocalypse. Yeah, we all remember that. My fondest memory is when my leg got stuck in a hole in the snow during recess. Mr. Bednardz had to dig me out with a coffee can… after letting me sit there for a solid five minutes, while the rest of my class stood around me doing nothing and generally being very unhelpful. Seventh grade. When we were all scared out of our minds to join “the big kids” at the high school but found that it wasn’t quite so bad once we got here. Eight grade, when Mrs. Stavig rescued many of us from RTI standardized learning time, and instead let us listen to Harry Potter audiobooks and knit scarves. Eleventh grade, when we set up for Prom, and our Class Advisors kept our spirits up with popcorn, candy, and Capri Sun. And, finally, senior year. Slogging through college applications, panicking about deadlines, fundraising until our feet fell off (my mom’s foot almost did fall off). But despite all our troubles, we made it here. Graduates— almost.

Class of 2018: in 13 minutes, we will be that much closer to a goal we have been working towards for the last thirteen years. But remember, it wasn’t just through our own efforts that we have made it this far. When you get your diploma, think of the highlights of your life, and remember the people who got you here. Teachers and staff, friends and family. Who may have had to dig you out of holes in the snow from time to time. Or who let you knit and color in class because they know that kids that young are supposed to be creative, not learning machines. Or class advisors who give you candy for standing around, pretending to helpful while setting up for a school dance. The people who encourage you to do your best and spend so much of themselves making sure you do. We’ve always been a class of very strong personalities. Though we had to have friendship counseling in Elementary school (ask one of us about that later), remember: there will always be a support network of your classmates and community members behind you. Whether they’re here in person in the present, or in memories in the past, there will always be someone who’s got your back. Thank you.


VALEDICTORIAN SPEECH

CHS Class of 2018 Valedictorian Corrine ÒCoriÓ Pegau addressed classmates and a packed gym full of friends, family and well-wishers on May 19. (Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times)

PEGAU: Whatever you do, do it for good 

Editor’s note: Corrine “Cori” Pegau, valedictorian of the Cordova High School Class of 2018, delivered this speech during commencement exercises on May 19, 2018

Good evening family, students, and honored guests.

Writing this speech must be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in high school. At first, I thought of focusing on the past, but I felt that might be redundant. We were all there for it. Then I considered talking about the future, but whose future? The nurse? The engineer? The welder? The orthodontist? We all walk different paths, and who am I to pick which one has earned a speech? Still, I had a speech to write, one for parents, teachers, relatives, and schoolmates. There had to be one thing in common, one thing that bound us together. Perhaps not one idea, but a constellation of values we could follow. In the end, there was only one thing all of us should hear.

Whatever you do, do it for good.

The world has enough problems without us adding to it. When you go into the world, whether for trade school, college, or a job, you will not have your parents to tell you to be good every morning. No one makes sure you say “please” and “thank you” or shovel snow for your neighbor. It’s up to you to do these things. Even when it’s tempting to do what’s easiest for us, what makes us the most money, remember how we got here. We have been surrounded by teachers, parents, and a supportive community that has given their time and energy to us throughout our time in school. They haven’t done what’s easiest for them, they have done what’s best for us. Going into the future, remember how many doors have been opened for us because someone was willing to do something for our good.

Volunteer. Open your home to someone in need. Pay for someone else at a restaurant. Give to fundraisers. Make someone smile. We may only be 18 strong, but we can impact so many people, who can affect so many more. Thank you.

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Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson is a staff writer and photographer for The Cordova Times. She has been writing in one form or another for 30-plus years and has had a longstanding relationship with The Cordova Times starting in 1989. She's been an Alaskan since 1976 and first moved to Cordova in 1978. She's lived in various West Texas towns; in Denver, Colorado; in McGrath, Cordova, Galena, Kodiak, Wasilla, Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska and in Bangalore, India. She has two children and three grandchildren. She can be reached at cgibbens-stimson@thecordovatimes.com or follow her on Instagram @alaskatoindia.