By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
Every student and every class to pass through the halls of Charles Page is special in its own way. But the Class of 2016 has earned a special place in in the annals of Sandite history. CPHS Principal Stan Trout recognized these past few years as an "athletics and fine arts Renaissance."
Indeed, this class has seen our first football playoff victory since they were toddlers. They led us to State Championship appearances in football, wrestling, softball, tennis, golf, debate, and more. Seniors Cameron Meeker and Emma Bedokis became the first debate semifinalists in school history and fourteen Sandites have put pen to paper in committing to play collegiate sports.
412 students graduated from CPHS and Page Academy Saturday evening at the Oral Roberts University Mabee Center. Among them were 74 honor grads, having attained 4.0 GPAs over all four years of high school, and 34 earned certificates of distinction.
Student Council President Courtney Langley led the packed stadium in the Pledge of Allegiance and Christina Brittle amazed the crowd with her performance of the National Anthem. The CPHS band set the tone throughout the evening and Bryn Lewis and National Merit Scholar and Academic All State Scholar Ethan Veenker gave touching speeches to their peers.
The ceremony took a comical turn as Principal Trout contended that outgoing Superintendent of Schools Lloyd Snow could not be considered "the perfect Sandite" without having graduated from Sand Springs. Snow was then walked through a series of auditory "End of Instruction Exams."
Many jokes were made, such as, "What do you get when you have a Sandite and take away nine football victories?..A Chieftain," and "Besides football and basketball, what new OSSAA sport did the Sandites and Booker T Washington compete in?" The answer of "Twitter" was met with thunderous laughter. Principal Trout has never shied away from controversial jokes at graduation, something that earns him extra love and respect from his students.
After taking his "EOIs" Snow was required to lead the crowd in one last "V-I-C-T-O-R-Y" cheer and awarded an honorary CPHS diploma. But the laughter was soon replaced with tearful joy as the beloved Superintendent gave his final graduation speech, a heartwarming address in which he recognized the Class of 2016 as his class.
After remarks from Board of Education President Mike Mullins came the presentation of diplomas and perhaps the most famous Sand Springs tradition of all, a final message from Frank Cooper. The annual reading of "Love You Forever" by Robert N. Munsch. The children's bedtime story has taken a special place in the hearts of the Sand Springs community after generations of young Sandites have sat through the tearful recital by Cooper.
The story is altered, and filled with the names of the Class of 2016, as Cooper adds his own touches and flares of inspiration to make the story unique to each class each year, but each year features the same iconic chorus;
"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my babies you'll be."
Finally, the Senior Quartet led the crowd in the Alma Mater and Senior Class President Erin Kennedy gave the closing speech. The students were dismissed to their parents and, despite two more weeks of school, to the world.