Graduating seniors in Bergan’s class of 2019 had a unique honor.
As salutatorian Jack Wilmes said: “Eight of us are part of the original class in first grade, starting in the old, white Flynn building, before the current elementary school was even built.”
Wilmes was one of 30 seniors who graduated Saturday from Archbishop Bergan Catholic High School.
He and valedictorian Zoey Hurst shared a plethora of memories in speeches they delivered during the commencement ceremony at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Fremont.
And as in past years, friends and family filled many pews in the sanctuary where seniors earned the right to move the tassels from the left of their mortarboards to the right — signifying that they are now alumni.
Wilmes shared a little history.
“We were the first class in countless years to attend classes in that (Flynn) building,” he said. “And we are fortunate to be part of the unique history of reopening Bergan Elementary.”
Wilmes and Hurst mentioned athletic achievements among the students including team state championship titles and runners-up honors.
Both speakers paid tribute to people who’ve impacted the students’ lives.
“To our parents — if you are like mine — I know you have heard your share of complaints, but you pushed us to keep going. Coaches have taught us to work hard, accept adversity and grow from it. Teachers have impacted us in countless ways,” Wilmes said.
Hurst commended family members.
“I, personally, wouldn’t have made it through the past years without the guidance and support of my parents and family,” she said.
Hurst paid a special tribute to two teachers — Maggie Winterlin, vocal music teacher, and Jeremy Murman, instrumental music instructor.
“She has been one of the people that has helped me develop my love for theater,” Hurst said of Winterlin. “…Most importantly, Mrs. Winterlin has always believed in me, and she has never given up on me.”
Of Murman, she said: “He has been a teacher that I could always count on for advice and he is someone that I look up to. He has always pushed me to be a better person and challenged me to step out of my comfort zone.”
Hurst also talked about endings in her speech.
“As much as I have looked forward to this day, I’ve always disliked endings — the last day of summer, the final chapter of a good book, parting ways with a close friend — but endings are inevitable,” she said. “Leaves fall. You close the book. You say goodbye.
But Hurst noted something else.
“Today is a sad day, but it is also a joyous day,” she said. “After 12 years of hard work and dedication, we can finally say we made it.”