Fill your own urn with moments, like this, that you collect during your lifetime, Coconino High School Honor speaker Areya Kugler told her more than 300 classmates during Friday’s graduation ceremony.
Kugler asked her classmates to think back to when they learned the poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn” and the question that their English teacher had asked them.
“She asked us, ‘Have you ever experienced a moment that you could live in forever?’” Kugler said. “We are collecting moments right now. We will never sit where we are right now, with the people who are here with us now or be able to recreate the emotions we feel right now at this graduation.”
She encouraged her classmates to collect moments like this and share them with others who need help.
“We have been experiencing history,” she said. “We are a generation of change. No matter where life takes you, collect the moments. Enough to fill your own urn.”
Kugler pledged and asked others to pledge to vote in the next election and every election for equality, safety from gun violence and climate change.
“We are adults now. It is our moments that give us power. Now is our opportunity to help others,” she said. “We are meant to be here and do great things.”
For Jaqueline Flores, CHS student body president, this is the second part of a journey that she and her classmates started 13 years ago in kindergarten.
Senior Class President Kendall Haylett reminded the graduates of that fateful freshman year football game where they stormed the field after beating Flagstaff High School.
“Four years ago, I didn’t know I could scream that loud at a football game,” she said. “Panthers always stand by their team.”
As she started to list off memories, one row after another of students held up a red, black or white poster board over their heads. At the end, the entire class chanted, “I believe that we are done.”
“The journey began a long time ago,” Haylett said. “This is the largest intersection in our lives.”
Some will go off to college, some will go to a trade school or into the military and some will enter the workforce, she said.
“Don’t forget the connections you made here and have here,” she said.