VIDEO: Senior Graduation Drive-Through Parade

VIDEO: Senior Graduation Drive-Through Parade
Posted on 05/26/2020
This is the image for the news article titled VIDEO: Senior Graduation Drive-Through ParadeThe Salt River High School Class of 2020 had a year like no other. While they had to give up senior year milestones like prom and the much anticipated senior trip due to COVID-19 safety concerns, the Community came out to celebrate the final graduating class SRHS will ever see on what was supposed to be their commencement day. The drive-through parade was a huge success, and we are so thankful for all the honks, decorations, balloons, face masks, and celebrations!

Listen to Sialik King deliver her valedictorian address (text below), and hear other students send off teachers and fellow classmates with words of encouragement. We are so proud of our graduating seniors!

Sialik King's Valedictorian Address

Good Day. My name is Sialik Shandiin King. I am O’odham; my clan is the Coyote Clan. I am also Navajo and of the Bitterwater and Red Streak Running into the Water clans. I am 18 years old. I am the daughter of Kyland King and Cynthia Claw-King. My paternal grandparents are the late Nayland King and Linda Manuel and my maternal grandparents are Chester and Stella Claw of Tuba City Arizona.

To begin, I want to thank everyone who helped our senior class along the way. That includes our teachers, coaches, instructors, security, tutors, and administration. Without you, we wouldn’t have the memorable high school experiences that we had. Next, I want to thank the parents and guardians of our graduating class. With the driving force to complete assignments at home and ability to see each of our potential, we wouldn’t be able to be where we are today. Lastly, I want to thank our Community for standing behind each and every one of us during every trial we endured these past school years.

I had the privilege to attend Salt River Elementary and was able to make friendships that will last a lifetime. The graduated students standing by my side are those who I’ve grown up with since kindergarten. I’ve seen their potential and their fight through every struggle. I will always hold dear the memories of all the times our girls basketball team made/won state. The times our volleyball team has qualified for playoffs. All the assemblies and homecoming activities. The student versus teachers games that took place. The band concerts and JROTC promotions.

One thing I will miss the most will be the sense of belonging. We are a very small school and some may take that as a disadvantage--but to me it was a blessing. With small class sizes we were able to get any help we needed right away and were able to connect to each other in ways others at bigger schools may not be able to. Being at SRHS always felt like home. I am two different tribes and that splits me in half sometimes. There are times that I feel as if I am not O’odham enough or not Navajo enough and I suffer an identity crisis within myself. But at SRHS, I've never felt that way. Our school has such a diverse culture of students that everyone always felt as if they belonged and everyone felt at home. We considered each other siblings rather than friends and I think that is something we should be proud of.

Earlier this year we received the heartbreaking news that Salt River High School would be closing. It saddens me that younger students will not be able to experience the culture here at SRHS and will not be able to have the same experience as I did. But with this I want everyone to remember what SRHS meant to them, whether you are alumni or a current student, whether you've attended one year or all six years. I want you to reflect on the memories you had at our school and keep those in your heart. To me, SRHS will always be my home.

To the Class of 2020 you will always be my family. I know this is not how we planned our graduation to be, but we need to be optimistic in times like these and remember that we are strong, that we completed high school through this pandemic even when people believed we couldn’t. We proved every assumption about us wrong and we graduated and completed this milestone in our life. We accomplished big things, whether it was signing to play college sports or many college acceptances. One of the biggest things we accomplished was having an all-Native American graduating class representing different tribes across Arizona. I thank each and every one of you for giving me memories of backpacks in the trees, the Kahoot games in our favorite classes, the competitions of who grew taller over the summer, the random laying down on the sidewalks during lunch, the jokes, the laughs, and all the love.

To end, I want to say again I am incredibly grateful to everyone who believed in us and helped us get to this point in our lives. It was an honor to be a part of the last graduating class of Salt River High School and I am honored to be the last Valedictorian of Salt River High School.

Be bold. Be brave. Be ba’ag.

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