A sea of green gowns decorated Coronado High School’s football field on June 15 for the school’s 108th commencement, featuring the class of 2023.
While the unified outfitting of green served as a reminder of the roots the graduates have in the Coronado community, the caps adorned in future plans, favorite quotes and college logos provided a glimpse into their future, a sliver of what’s to come.
Coronado High School Principal Karin Mellina said the class of 2023 walked onto the same field four years as eighth-graders for their promotion to high school.
Bigger, wiser and cooler
This time, they stood on the field a little bit bigger, a lot wiser, and much cooler, she said.
Our graduates are the products of dedicated district teachers, counselors and classified support teammates who have nurtured our student’s intellectual, extracurricular and personal passions.”-Coronado High School Principal Karin Mellina.
“Our graduates are the products of dedicated district teachers, counselors and classified support teammates who have nurtured our student’s intellectual, extracurricular and personal passions, and I am honored to work alongside these exceptional and inspiring educators who model curiosity, creativity and kindness,” Mellina said.
In addition to the support system from the school, parents, grandparents, family members, and friends filled the grandstand.
With a golden hue casted on their smiling faces from the setting sun, family members cheered in support and came prepared with balloons, flowers, and cut out faces of their graduates.
Honorary graduates from Class of 1973
As a yearly tradition within the Coronado Unified School District, the 50-year graduates from Coronado High were honored alongside the current graduates.
And Superintendent Karl Mueller presented the class of 1973 with honorary diplomas.
The ceremony opened with the Color Guard, presented by Coronado Navy Junior ROTC members.
After the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem was sung by Viviana Peji with accompanying music by Jacob Lyons, Sean Campbell and Sam Jennings.
Senior Class President Jesse Hill took the stage to remind her class of how much they have been shaped by their time in high school, highlighting how their “roots will always be tangled.”
Valedictorian Adam Perez posed a future of “what ifs,” not defined by setbacks or failures.
The class of 2023 has some of the most talented people I have ever met.”-Valedictorian Adam Perez
“The class of 2023 has some of the most talented people I have ever met,” Perez said. “I urge each and everyone of you to share your unique talents with the world.”
Donovan gives keynote address
Former professional soccer player and national soccer Hall of Famer Landon Donovan gave the keynote address.
Donovan played in three World Cups and was voted as the best U.S. soccer player of all time by a poll conducted by ESPN. He is also the co-founder and vice president of soccer operations for San Diego Loyal SC.
He celebrated making the most of every experience, good or bad.
Donovan had many setbacks in his soccer career.
He broke his femur when he was 2, and then his leg in two spots when he was 15. He had just gotten called to the youth national team for the first time.
Those setbacks ended up propelling him further, making him stronger and teaching him things he would have never learned otherwise, he said.
He applied the same message to the way that the graduating class came back from spending the first two years of their high school career in a pandemic.
“When you guys came back as juniors you had a unique appreciation of being together,” Donovan said. “I can sense it from all of you guys today.”
Leaving a mark at Coronado High
As the sky dimmed and the stadium lights took over, the 273 graduates from the class of 2023 were presented their diplomas, ready to embark on the next stage of life.
Mueller said it was time for the graduates to lead and the adults to get out of the way.
During the ceremony, Mellina thanked the class for their time at CHS.
“It has been an absolute joy to watch you grow into the incredible, beautiful, creative, inspiring, and rad individuals you are,” Mellina said. I want to thank you for making a difference in my life and leaving a mark on my heart. I love you so much, my favorite class ever, and I am so, so very proud of you.”