Bay High School’s class of 2017 walked, danced and rolled across the football field to get their diplomas.
In the stands, parents, friends and relatives whooped and hollered, waved homemade signs, snapped an untold number of photos and showered one another with confetti. They gave a standing ovation for special-needs graduates Brent Anderson and Clarence Kennedy, and another ovation for the newly minted graduates after all had returned to their seats with their diplomas.
Valedictorian Kyle Ott’s speech was something of a revelation.
“About 48 hours ago, this speech was a piece of coal,” he said. “The past week off from school was spent both enjoying my newfound freedom from Bay High School and being incredibly productive.
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“I have watched an entire television series documenting the culture of Tudor Britain, read a total of five pages of the ‘Dialogues of Plato’ and fostered a healthy relationship with my bed.”
His speech, he said, wasn’t until very recently “on the agenda.”
But he did manage, under deadline pressure, to turn that piece of coal into a gem of humor and poignancy. The crowd loved it, especially the poem that closed it out.
The graduates rose and walked to the center of the field in a spiral that tightened until they were as close to one another as they’d ever been. Then their mortar boards flew into the air and they disappeared into a river of parents and other well-wishers who streamed from the stands.
Bay High School
Valedictorian: Kyle Andrew Ott, son of Keith and Amy Ott of Waveland
Salutatorian: Jake Frommeyer, son of Gerard and Dawn Frommeyer of Waveland
Class size: 125
Principal: Amy Coyne
Quote: “And don’t even act like this message is just for the boys.
“Girls, you be lookin’ at the hardware, too. I be seein’ you.
“But you know, when you see a big, a big — diploma on the field,
“You can’t do anything but just look at those four years — from a distance.”
— Valedictorian Kyle Ott’s poem that closed out his graduation speech.