SARASOTA — Blue and yellow filled the Van Wezel on Sunday as Pine View School seniors closed a chapter of their lives.
“We made it,” said Zander Moricz, who gave the class president speech at the end of the ceremony.
Families and friends proudly cheered for each of the 210 graduates who walked across the stage to receive their diplomas.
A unique aspect of Pine View’s ceremony was the short speech each graduate received from Principal Stephen Covert.
Covert honored each senior with an announcement of their accomplishments, involvements while at school, and where each will go after graduation.
Many will be going onto Florida universities and colleges across the country, while some will be attending Ivy League schools and technical institutes.
Despite where they are going after graduation, each graduate was heavily involved with both the school and the community.
“This class truly exemplifies the culture of Pine View School,” said Cindi Wozniak, a teacher at Pine View.
Moricz gave one of the final speeches of the ceremony, celebrating the accomplishments of the graduates.
Moricz previously took to social media about his speech being censored. He was the first openly gay class president and is the youngest named plaintiff on a lawsuit against H.B. 1557, known as the Parental Rights Law or coined by the opposition as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
To avoid saying the word “gay” during his speech, Moricz used his curly hair as a metaphor.
“I have curly hair,” Moricz said about his defining characteristic.
He talked about coming to school as his authentic self with “curly hair.”
Moricz, who has been class president all four years, said he had been preparing for this speech since he was first elected.
He also talked about going through high school and the pandemic that hit during the graduates’ sophomore year.
“All of the things that 15-year-old children should come together for were gone,” Moricz said.
Despite the challenges the graduates had gone through during their time in high school, the night was filled with excitement for the class of 2022.
Graduates Laura Gayre and Camden Wozniak presented a senior video with a picture montage and video clips of congratulations from Pine View teachers.
Edward Shen, who also received the U.S. 2022 Presidential Scholars Award, was awarded Pine View’s Senior Award of Excellence, which was met with applause from all.
”I sincerely wish the best for all of you,” said Connor Lafo, the class vice president who presented the class gift.