Print Mingus mortarboards go airborne May 27
Written by Greg Ruland   
Friday, 27 May 2011 00:01

On Friday, May 27, the Class of 2011, all 216 of them, will march across the football field at Mingus Union High School, receive diplomas, shake hands and probably imagine the future with the cheers of family and friends ringing in their ears.

To participate in the ceremony, seniors had to pass their courses, attend a mandatory graduation meeting, retrieve their cap and gown and walk through early morning rehearsal.

They will march to the sound of MUHS Symphonic Concert Band playing, “Pomp and Circumstance.”

Mingus_Logo_CMYKMany arranged reserved seating tickets for loved ones, giving them an up-close vantage of the proceedings at field level.

Competition for 2011 valedictorian and salutatorian will not be settled until after final exams are completed Thursday, May 26, according to MUHS Principal Tamara Addis.

Student Body President Lashea Taylor and the eventual valedictorian will speak to the gathered crowd, followed by Senior Class President Zachariah Zienka, who will lead the class in the changing of the tassel, followed by cheers, Addis said.

No keynote speaker will address the graduating class this year, she said.

Addis, whose youngest son, Logan, is graduating, said she’s feeling a bit of the “empty nest” syndrome. She’ll miss all the Class of 2011 because her children grew up with so many of them, “ever since kindergarten,” she said.

She called 2011 a year of many firsts: her first year as principal; first year for MUHS to be recognized for its advance placement education in the national 2011 AP District of the Year survey, and first year for the anti-bullying campaign Rachel’s Challenge.

For the graduates, it will be the first time they step off the football field with a high school diploma and a measure of individual responsibility never before experienced.

Following the ceremony, most 2011 graduates are expected to spend time with family, then head to the Cottonwood Recreation Center, where volunteers successfully organized the third annual Operation Graduation.

Operation Graduation, which starts at 10 p.m. at the Cottonwood Recreation Center, is an all-night, drug and alcohol-free party for graduates and their guests on May 27. The party lasts until 5 a.m., when the grand prize will be awarded. Graduates must be present to win.

The evening will be filled with entertainment, such as dancing, karaoke, pool, computer games, movies, temporary tattoos and swimming. Food is provided throughout the all-night party free for the graduates and guests, spokeswoman Rita Ledbetter said.

Drawings will be held for prizes, including cash, computers, appliances, sports equipment and gift certificates.