Free at last

Independence High School seniors graduate; head out into the real world
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Independence High School seniors felt the first twinge of freedom Tuesday evening when they received their diplomas during the school’s graduation ceremony. About 45 seniors crossed the Patty Baker Theater stage at Roseville High School to receive their diplomas. A total of 74 seniors graduated this spring. “It feels awesome,” said graduate Autumn Fury, as she struggled to buckle her high-heels before the ceremony. “It’s all excitement. I’m just so happy.” But with that adulthood freedom comes a tradeoff: more responsibility. There will be no state law requiring these young adults get an education, no calls from the office to parents when their child has missed school and no reminders from the campus counselor to register for classes. “Now you must take your own initiative to continue your education,” said Principal Debbie Latteri, during her speech. Graduate John Castberg plans to attend American River College and major in music. “I am so excited,” he said. “I ended up taking an extra year of high school. I managed to scrape my credits together and get it done.” Kelsey D’Anneo doesn’t know exactly what she will major in yet, but has figured out her post-high school plans. “I’m ready to go to college,” D’Anneo said. “I’m going to Sierra this summer then to a four-year college in Boston. I want to work with animals or do environmental science.” Because students join Independence High School at various times throughout the academic year, the school does not have a valedictorian, so two student speakers were selected to share their thoughts. Student speaker Samantha Nafso reminisced on the accomplishments of her peers — some graduated early, some took college classes, some chose to start a family — but said having more independence than a traditional high school student hasn’t always been easy. Fellow speaker Courtney Clingan talked about the milestones of life so far, and what lies ahead in the future. “It is a question of want versus will,” Clingan said. “You want something, but will you get up and get it? My fellow graduates, you got up and got the job done.” Clingan left her peers, the Independence Trailblazers, with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson. “‘Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail,’” she said. “Be true Trailblazers.” Sena Christian can be reached at