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The Communicator

Graduation 2024

On May 31, 2024, graduates gathered at Hill Auditorium for a final goodbye to Community High School.

Prior to 1 p.m. CHS’s 118 graduates showed up at Hill Auditorium to rehearse for their graduation. Six hours later they arrived again, this time wearing caps and gowns. Surrounded by loved ones, the familiar sounds of CHS jazz filled the air as students, friends and family members alike took their seats. 

Prior to the ceremony, seniors shared conflicted feelings about the occasion. Despite her enthusiasm, soon-to-be graduate Serena O’Brien felt apprehensive about her speech. 

“I’m so excited for this beautiful moment with all of my beautiful friends and beautiful family and to graduate high school,” O’Brien said. “It’s been a long time coming and I just think it’s really amazing that we all get to be together for this. But it’s a lot to put on a person that they have to speak in front of everybody.”

Among the bittersweet crowd on the steps outside the auditorium was Leila Bank, who grappled with whether her CHS journey was over or still alive in the moments before the event. 

“Community is all I’ve known for the past four years, and I feel like I really belong there,” Bank said. “Or here I guess… I don’t really know what tense to use.” 

While AAPS superintendent Jazz Parks had planned to be in attendance, a positive early-morning COVID-19 test eliminated that possibility. Despite her absence, multiple School Board members were present, including Krystle DuPree, Susan Schmidt, Torchio Feaster and Ernesto Querijero. 

Officially opening the night, Dean Marci Tuninsky welcomed everyone to the event, remarking on how far the class of 2024 has come since their freshman year online and congratulating them on keeping CHS’s “spirit” alive. 

“Each person who walks who walks in the doors of Community High School changes us in some way,” Tuzinsky said. “That is how we all continue to get better and better,” 

Her speech was filled with congratulations for the graduates and excitement for their new adventures. Tuzinsky ended her address with a quote from a past graduate’s speech. 

“‘Boats are safest in the harbor, but that’s not what boats are built for.’” Tuzinsky said. “So, I guess it’s time to kick you out of the harbor. Congratulations, class of 2024, enjoy the trip!” 

Next, the Crabtree, Hamstra, Kiley, Hunscher-Young and Vial Forums kicked off the first round of diploma distribution. In unique and ceremonial Community High School fashion, forum bonds are highlighted as forum leaders stand beside their students during speeches and have the privilege of presenting diplomas to their forumettes. Also following tradition, each graduate is given 30 seconds to speak. While most fill their time with thank-you’s, others share pivotal teaching moments, how far they’ve come, and what CHS has taught them.

“Throughout my 4 years at Community, I have created so many special and unique bonds that I hope to hold forever. This school has always made me feel welcomed and accepted, especially by one person in particular, Courtney,” said Kiley forumette Julia Kaltwasser. “Courtney has given me so much love that I will never forget, and she has changed my life for the better.”

During the first intermission, CHS Jazz returned to the stage, this time accompanied by Jacqueline Boynton and Lila Fetter on vocals for a rendition of “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire. 

Continuing the presentation of diplomas, the Dudley, Hechler, Eldon, Qu, Lavelanet and Whiteside Forums were up next. 

“One of my favorite parts about forum was sharing what I had for dinner the night prior, and while I did put my forumettes through some long food rambles, I could always count on Sean to be enthusiastic about my family’s cooking abilities,” said Eldon forumette Miles McDonald. “So Sean, I wanted to let you know that last night I had fried pesto chicken with cherry tomatoes and burrata cheese.”

Next, Emily Yesowitz read an original poem titled “Shapes.” 

“In my most cliché tone, I will say that you have shaped me,” Yesowitz read. “My sharpest, harshest corners were the first to soften in your wake.”

Continuing on with the program, Dean Marci Tuzinsky and Assistant Dean Rebecca Westrate took the stage to present CHS’s six senior awards. This year’s winners are listed below.

The Jill Award honors a student who made the school a “happier place” and is named for Jill Donnellan who did just that for many years in CHS’s ILC department: Ian Schultz 

The Community Resource Award honors the student who used the CR Program to its fullest and is a tribute to the many volunteer instructors who make the invaluable program possible: Ruth Shikanov

The Judith DeWoskin Award honors excellence in creative and analytical writing and is presented by the English Department: Poppy Magee 

The Dean Al Gallup Scholarship honors a student who has worked to create programs or lead projects that have bettered the school and community as a whole. It recognizes outstanding service to CHS: Izzie Jacob

The Nathan Lydell Hall Memorial Scholarship honors a student who was active and involved in academic, community service and athletic pursuits. It is a tribute to a CHS graduate who died in a swimming accident shortly after his graduation in 2000: Ailin Salazar   

The Bruce Bartman Memorial Scholarship is CHS’s oldest and most prestigious award. honors the student who best exemplifies the ideals of CHS by being a full participant in alternative programs and contributing to the betterment of the school community. Bartman, the award’s namesake, was a member of CHS’s first graduating class: Seven Steiner 

Following that, the Mosher, Yager, Landrum, Mankad and Root Forums took the stage to receive their diplomas and give their speeches. 

Before the final round of diploma distribution, CET students performed mashup of songs from their spring musical “Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.” There were 13 performers, including seniors Leila Bank, Poppy Magee, Sadie Barber and Lila Fetter.  

Finally, graduates from the Anderson, Silvester, Brent, Johnson and Starkey forums made their way on stage to close out the night. 

“I’ve seen myself and my friends grow from unexpected passions and unexpected experiences and unexpected connections,” said Brent forum senior Parker Haymart. “While I never did know what to expect about Community, it’s been so special. I can’t wait to see what amazing and unexpected paths come next.”

“In the words of JTP, ‘It will be okay, because it’s not the challenges that define you, but what you do with them,’” said Starkey forumette Aidan Hsia. 

Following Starkey forum member Kegan Malestein‘s theatrical, lemon-throwing performance, Dean Marci Tuzinsky thanked physics teacher Jonathan Thomas-Palmer—who is retiring to focus on his online physics program Flipping Physics—for all he’s done for students within and beyond CHS. She continued on to congratulate the class of 2024 one final time. And with that, the 2024 graduation ceremony came to an end.

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About the Contributors
Clara Freeth
Clara Freeth, Social Media Editor-in-Chief
Clara Freeth is a junior at CHS. This is her second year in journalism and her first as a Social Media Editor-In-Chief. When not writing, she can be found playing field hockey as captain of the Ann Arbor Huron varsity team, listening to music in her room, or spending time outside with her friends. Clara is excited about all that this year has to offer!
Lucia Page Sander
Lucia Page Sander, Social Media Editor-in-Chief
This is Lucia's fourth semester on staff and her first as a Social Media Editor-in-Chief. When she's not playing soccer for the Michigan Jaguars or competing for Lily Weightlifting, you can find her in the garden, watching tennis with her family, or jumping on her mini trampoline. Lucia loves surfing, doing the Wordle, climbing trees, and munching on cherry tomatoes. She is beyond excited to see what this year brings both inside and outside room 300.
Daniel Jacob
Daniel Jacob, Journalist
Daniel Jacob is a freshman at CHS. This is his first semester on staff. When he is not playing tennis or spending time with family and friends, he enjoys listening to music. Their favorite album is Forever Story by JID.  You can find him taking photos around the CHS for the Communicator.  

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