Seniors celebrate graduation day


Arden Ray

TOSSING CAPS: The graduating class of 2023 celebrate the end of their high school careers by throwing their caps into the air at the end of the ceremony. For many students, this long-standing tradition serves as a final moment of excitement among their peers. “The best message I learned at Bowie is that you should always try and meet new people,” senior Ben Locke said. “Making new friendships and connections doesn’t diminish the friends you may be away from at the moment. The other speeches at graduation showed me just how much pride Bowie students have in their school, and in the Bowie community.”

Arden Ray, Photo Essay Editor

As speeches were given, medals handed out, and caps tossed, the Bowie class of 2023 brought their senior year to a close. The graduation ceremony took place at Burger Stadium on Friday, June 2. All students were honored by the AISD superintendent and principal Mark Robinson, with empowering speeches and diplomas. One of the speakers of the ceremony was senior Sienna Szczesny.
Salutatorian award recipient, Szczesny gave a speech about being united as a student body. Szczesny spoke about the importance of making memories by reflecting on some of the big events that happened during the class of 2023’s time in high school. Szczesny wanted her peers to bring their high school memories into their adult lives.
“I wanted my fellow graduates to feel included and a part of a cohesive community despite having such a large class,” Szczesny said. “I hope that my speech allowed them to look back on how Bowie has shaped them into the person they are today.”
One of Szczesny’s biggest takeaways from her time at Bowie is that things can change and mistakes are okay. She has also learned to always be true to herself.
“The main lesson that I learned while at Bowie, specifically right before graduation, was that sometimes things won’t go according to plan,” Szczesny said. “Mistakes can be made and there can be obstacles that are difficult to overcome. Don’t be afraid to step up and use your voice to speak the truth that you know you deserve.”
Following Szczesny’s words, Valedictorian Ben Locke gave a speech to his fellow classmates about the importance of their peers.
“The message I wanted my classmates to receive is that no matter what we accomplish as students or outside of school, everything is because of the people around us and the support they provide,” Locke said.
Fellow graduate Anika Ratakonda also attests to the fact that graduating was quite an achievement, regardless of where she ranked.
“It’s a milestone. I mean, it’s a celebration of 12, or four, long years of hard work and perseverance and challenging yourself and overall growth,” Ratakonda said. “I think in celebrating that you look back at the past four years of your life and what you want for your next four years. I think it’s a good milestone to look back and forward in your life and celebrate what you’ve done so far.
Locke reminded his fellow graduates to remember the people who helped them achieve their accomplishments and the ones that supported them through their lives. Locke also wanted his peers to know how great of an accomplishment graduating is.
“It’s important to remember the people who helped you be successful,” Locke said. “I think positions like valedictorian and salutatorian are nice awards to celebrate certain accomplishments, but ultimately shouldn’t make you feel good or bad whether you achieved them or not, because the real honor is being able to graduate.”
Locke’s biggest tip for incoming seniors is to enjoy it and to not overwhelm yourself with plans for after graduation.
“The best advice for incoming seniors is to work on college applications and scholarships, but to make sure they don’t stress you out,” Locke said. “You’ll make it where you need to be and this year should be such a fun year, that you don’t want to lose that worrying about college.”