Klamath Union High School will celebrate the class of 2020 with a drive-in-style event in Moore Park, Sunday, June 7, at noon.
Each senior has received two parking permits for the park, required for entrance, which will open at 10:30 a.m. Families are encouraged to decorate their vehicles to celebrate their graduates.
“We have a dedicated group of KU staff and senior parents who have worked hard since the school closure was announced to create something unique and special to honor our graduates,” said KU Principal Tony Swan.
Swan describes a ceremony of 30 to 45 minutes that will include a specially designed video, to be displayed on a JumboTron video board. Every graduate will be featured, along with speeches by the senior class president (Alex Garcia) and the salutatorian and valedictorians (profiled below). The traditional graduation songs “Pomp and Circumstance,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Aida” will be played. A speaker system will broadcast the ceremony over local and social media outlets.
Graduates will receive diplomas and senior award certificates through their vehicle windows as they exit the park. Students who do not pick up their diplomas will be notified to make other arrangements for delivery.
Valedictorian Ruth Peterson, daughter of Dan and Cathy Peterson
Peterson achieved a 4.0 cumulative GPA while also participating in cross-country, track, swimming, ASB student leadership, Math Team, National Honor Society (NHS), band and choir. In her senior year, Peterson served as section leader for the band’s percussionists, section leader for the choir’s sopranos, and president of NHS, for which she supervised a bi-monthly SMART Reading program at Conger Elementary School. She also participated in her church as a youth leader and family history consultant.
Peterson will attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where she will explore a major in elementary education. In her commencement speech, she will use Hannah Montana’s song “Nobody’s Perfect” to talk about staying persistent and positive in a flawed world.
Valedictorian Anupama Hazarika, daughter of Bichitra and Kalpana Hazarika
Hazarika achieved a 4.0 cumulative GPA, as well as a national commendation for her PSAT score and an AP Merit Scholar Award for high achievement on three Advanced Placement exams (Calculus AB, Calculus BC, and Physics). Hazarika played violin with the orchestra, participated in the National Honor Society and served as vice president of Key Club. In her junior year, she led the Math Team, which won second place in the Southern Oregon Math League.
Hazarika has been awarded the Global Wildcat Scholarship at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, where she will earn an engineering degree with the goal of becoming a chemical engineer. In her commencement speech, she will thank all those who welcomed and supported her in 2015 when her family relocated from New Delhi, India, and throughout her high school years.
Valedictorian Brady Monteith, son of Daymond and Cheri Monteith
Monteith achieved a 4.0 cumulative GPA while taking competitive courses such as Anatomy and AP Calculus. He participated in cross country, track, swimming and tennis, played viola in the orchestra and sang with the choir. He was a member of ASB student leadership and vice president of the DECA business club, which was named Oregon’s 2020 “Chapter of the Year.” As cross-country team captain junior year, he helped lead KU’s team to a third-place victory in the 2019 state competition.
Monteith will attend the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, on a full tuition scholarship to study biomedical engineering and to compete with the school’s triathlon team. In his commencement speech, Monteith will talk about doing “what you can with what you have” rather than dwelling on bad luck (such as a pandemic during a senior year).
Salutatorian Maria Corona, daughter of Jose and Guadalupe Corona
Corona achieved a 3.95 cumulative GPA while maintaining a job at Baskin Robbins, where she worked 20-25 hours each week. She will attend Klamath Community College and Oregon Institute of Technology toward licensure as a dental hygienist. In her commencement speech, Corona will address the challenges her class faced during the COVID-19 school closure, including the loss of personal contact with peers and mentors. Corona was grateful for a close relationship with her senior project mentor, Lisé Palmer, and teacher Rhiannon Kerr, who supported her in creating a cake sale for the half-time of a KU-Henley basketball game. Corona donated $615 from that sale to KU’s culinary program.