Log In

Reset Password
News Education Local News Nation & World New Mexico

72 seniors toss their caps at Bayfield High School graduation

Social studies teacher Jason Singh headlines as commencement speaker
Bayfield High School Valedictorian Brad Foutz speaks to the Class of 2024 on Sunday at BHS. (Matt Hollinshead/Durango Herald)

BAYFIELD — The house was full at Wolverine Country Stadium on Sunday, as 72 Bayfield High School students received their diplomas.

This year’s graduating class of students started at BHS during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

“Today marks not only the culmination of years of hard work and dedication, but also a testament to your resilience, perseverance and adaptability in the face of unprecedented change,” BHS Principal Amy Miglinas told the graduates. “When you began your high school journey, none of us could have predicted the extraordinary circumstances that would unfold on your first day at BHS.”

The event featured Brad Foutz as Valedictorian and Lillyan O’Hair as Salutatorian.

Foutz will be attending Yale University in the fall, pursuing degrees in math and physics.

“Everyone says this, but it comes by so fast and (it’s) hard to believe that it's over. It feels like just a month ago, I was still in sophomore year. It's really exciting,” Foutz said in an interview.

During his speech, Foutz spoke to his peers and those in attendance about shattering the illusions of materialism and instant gratification. He pleaded with those in attendance to be grateful for relationships they have in their community and family.

“We must examine our relationships with those around us. Our existence means nothing in an isolated vacuum,” Foutz said. “It is only through our interactions with and relationships to the other human beings around us that give human existence, human freedom and human emotions meaning. It is for that, I want to extend my most profuse and sincere gratitude to you all for providing me with such invaluable and formative friendships, conversations, memories and lessons.”

Amelia Beck receives her diploma during Bayfield High School's Class of 2024 graduation ceremony on Sunday at BHS. (Matt Hollinshead/Durango Herald)

O’Hair will be attending Rhode Island University in the fall. She will be double majoring in English with emphasis on classic English literature. As a member of the high school’s debate team and theater program, she was not worried about giving her speech in front of the crowd on Sunday.

“I've been in theater for three years so I’m used to being in front of a crowd,” she said in an interview.

In her speech, O’Hair touched on the students’ ability to adapt to their surroundings and the perseverance it took to graduate, especially during years of uncertainty through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you're working in a library or on a farm, remember where you came from and who and what it took to get you there and never give up. If not for yourself, then for the people who worked hard to get you there,” she said.

The ceremony’s commencement speaker was BHS social studies teacher Jason Singh, who became emotional as he addressed many students individually during his speech.

Singh started working at Bayfield High School in 2021. Previously, he served in the United States Coast Guard and attended Utah Valley State University, as well as the University of Oxford.

“There's no doubt that I'm a better adult human being and teacher for my time here,” Singh said.

Bayfield High School social studies teacher and commencement speaker Jason Singh speaks to the Class of 2024 on Sunday at BHS. (Matt Hollinshead/Durango Herald)

He quoted educator Horace Mann, telling the crowd “be ashamed to die until you have some victory for humanity.”

Essentially, this meant that every person should try to work toward achieving something that contributes to the betterment of society before considering their life complete.

Singh was chosen because he has been well-received by students. He’s helped many of them apply for college, including O’Hair.

Bayfield’s 72 graduates matches the same total from 2022 and was 25 fewer than the Class of 2021


Bayfield High School Salutatorian Lillyan O'Hair engages with some of her classmates prior to the Class of 2024 graduation ceremony on Sunday at BHS. (Matt Hollinshead/Durango Herald)

Reader Comments