Bakersfield’s 2021 initial exercises took place at the school on Friday, May 21.
Opening speech by Heather Smith
Heather Smith, first grade teacher in Bakersfield, gave this year’s address.
Smith congratulated the class, saying they knew this particular class was choosing career paths as future military, nurses, state forces, construction workers, body repair technicians, speech pathologists, boiler makers, rescue workers, linemen, technology majors, pediatricians. Video game designers, lawyers, veterinary technicians, and ranchers.
“I know you can achieve these goals. I know because I saw her drive and determination at a young age, ”she said.
Smith told the audience a story from when the older classmates were first years in their class. She said a reviewer told her there was no way that students could study in their class when she described the setup, which had a unique situation where students at two different reading levels had a group and three class assistants with Smith at the same time others directed. Smith explained to her students that someone was watching them and that they should carry on as usual as if no one was watching them.
She said the appraiser came in and observed the behavior of the students in the classroom and then, to Smith’s relief, left the room. He returned with two other women. At lunch, the man told Smith that it was one of the most amazing things he saw. She said that she knew then that the students would be successful.
She said she saw the students who weren’t in that first grade also showed drive and determination. Then she addressed the seniors individually.
“Joseph and Silas, I see it in the way you run and look after your route family. Jaden, I saw it the day you won first place in the 100 meters. Ashton, on the day you played a season, even though you had already attended four events. Jacob and Reece in your work ethic, whether you work for money or volunteer. Grace Miller on the blogs you write helps young girls understand life. Sierra and Haley Kimmel in their basketball leadership skills. Logan Scott and Levi Tryon who are always there to help. You both are more than willing to try new things in order to be successful. Sarah, Seth and Gage for always finding a way to make difficult situations more carefree and enjoyable for everyone around you. Brady and Logan Collins, I’ve seen you take care of your family and love them. Sydney, your determination to be successful in whatever you do. Hailee Collins, how hard you worked to overcome your injuries and you beat them. Riley, your adventurous spirit who has taken you to many places. Levi Woodward and Kalob, your example of lifelong friendship. Tate, your ability to make the best of every situation. Katelynn and Gracie Lashley, you will both be great nurses with your sweet and giving spirit shining through to your patients. “
At the end of her speech, she read the student part of Dr. Suess’s book “Oh, the places you’ll go”.
“Each of you has the potential to be successful in anything you do, but to be truly successful you need to know how to recover from things that don’t go as planned,” she said.
Salutatorian Sydney Tucker
This year’s salutator was Sydney Tucker, daughter of Holly and Ivan Tucker.
Tucker plans to attend Missouri State University-West Plains this fall and hopes to enroll in the RN program there for the spring semester of 2022.
After becoming a nurse, she plans to continue her education to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and enjoy a career as a traveling nurse.
She began her speech by telling her classmates that she was humble to be able to salute the class this year.
“As I am giving a speech up here, I just want to mention that this will probably be the last time we will all meet and sit in the same room for a long time,” she said jokingly.
Tucker said she was reminded of a special quote from author Earnest Hemingway who said, “It’s good to have an end to a journey, but it is the journey that matters in the end.”
The quote “matters to me because all of the relationships we have with other people and the experiences we share matter,” she said to her classmates. “During the trip, the impressions we leave on other people – good or bad – are very important.”
Tucker said she and her classmates could walk into a store next to their future boss while shopping, or maybe a person she has somehow helped might one day return the favor if they are in need.
“My father always told me it was important to be humble and kind. I think we should think beyond ourselves as individuals and see situations from the point of view of others. The saying, “You can’t understand someone until you walk a mile in their shoes” is very important, “she said.” We never know what someone is going through. The best you can do is make everyone smile because you could be the reason they are having a good day. “
Tucker said it was an honor and a privilege to meet and learn with her classmates over the 13 years she spent at Bakersfield High School.
“I’m going to miss all the memories and funny moments like when we were all in eighth grade and we put Sierra’s whisker box in Mrs. Scott’s desk and when she sat down Sierra pushed the button,” she said with a laugh.
“And do you remember the time when we did a sketch in front of the whole school and Tate and Logan put clothes on and made it look like they’d kissed?” She said.
Tucker especially thanked the school board and Superintendent Dr. Amy Britt, “that she always did everything for each of her students and took the time to help our class on the last stretch. She also thanked Headmistress Doyne Byrd “who protected us” and counselor Trudy Summers “who helped me with my dual credit courses.”
She thanked her teachers and her bus driver “for getting me to school safely from day one of kindergarten”.
She thanked the former long-time teacher at Bakersfield AG, Troy Wiesner, “who taught me many lifelong skills and. . . has always pushed me to do my best. “
Finally, she thanked her family.
“My father was always there for me and showed me a good work ethic. He’s the one who would talk to me for hours if he saw that I was in trouble. My mother showed me that anything is possible. She never let her handicap get down, ”said Tucker. “I want to thank my sisters for always coming to terms with me and being there for me.”
She concluded the speech by telling her classmates, “Be proud of how far you have come and trust how far you can go. Everything is possible.”
Valedictorian Hailee Collins
This year’s valedictorian is Hailee Collins, daughter of Jennifer Collins and Justin Collins. She also plans to attend Missouri State University-West Plains in the fall semester. She hopes to get a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science and become a Veterinary Technician.
Collins started her speech with a bit of humor. “We finally did it,” she said. “But I only have one question for all of you: how?”
She said that her graduation day was honestly made possible by the support of others who taught and guided her and “made sure we got up at dawn to come [to school]. ”
She asked her classmates to take a minute to give all those applause who supported the students on their school trip.
Then she took a trip to Memory Lane and reminded this year’s graduates of a hilarious incident they shared four years ago.
“One of the first memories I have here at Bakersfield High School was the first week of the freshman year. All went well in American history. We filled out our study guides and watched the slide show go by. Side by side of the slide show … “said Collins. “Then Ms. Ehrhart suddenly completely missed her chair and fell to the floor! We were all speechless and absolutely terrified that she was injured. After a minute or two, she got up quietly, looked at us all and said, “You know, you can laugh now.” I think that was the breaking point. After that we were never silent again. “
Collins thanked her classmates and explained that she was reluctant to come to Bakersfield from another school she had attended for 10 years before moving there. She said she remembered her first day there when she didn’t know anyone or where something was.
“I didn’t know where to go or who to ask for help, and at that moment I didn’t even know what I was doing there,” she said. “Now, four years later, I’m no longer afraid. I can get my way through any situation that comes my way – you know, except to file taxes.
“What we once were, fearful newbies, we are no longer. What we once were, seniors in Bakersfield, we can now be called a future doctor, nurse, boiler maker, lineman, veterinarian, or even an engineer, ”she said.
“There are endless possibilities for us now. The whole world is open to us. We just have to choose the right path to get where we want to be, ”she said.
Collins reminded her classmates of the good times they had as a class, preparing for homecoming, playing games and creating skits.
“Speaking of coming home, one of the best times was the second year. Things went smoothly, everyone had a great time, and overall a great time. That was until the spices were pulled out. I’m sure some of us will never order mustard on our sandwiches again! ” She said.
She said she was proud of herself and her classmates for making it through high school and ready to move on to their next chapter.
“When our time comes to an end, remember that we made it together – not just with the support of our teachers and families, but also with each other. We said we could, and we really did. We were there for each other every step of the way. As a class, we’ve been through everything together, everything. Not just the good times, the bad times too, ”she said. “Our book closes this chapter, but there is a new chapter for each of us. We were there for each other to take our first steps in these halls, but now we’re taking our last as the Bakersfield graduating class of 2021. “