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2019 Senior Farewell: John Nieman

May 25, 2019

Aaron Schubach: John Nieman, selected by the class of 2019 to give the senior farewell, has been a student at CSS since 2006 when he joined us as a kindergartner, and he is known for many things.

First and foremost, John is a top-notch, motivated student. At Awards Night last week, he was recognized as an AP Scholar with Distinction. He is also a real leader. He has served as the president of his class for multiple years. On Experience Center Seminars, from Mexico to the Mississippi, John’s leadership skills come to the forefront. His teachers frequently compliment his helpfulness and sense of humor. Well rounded, he delighted the audience as the commitment-phobic Peddler in Oklahoma this Spring.

The 2019 Male Athlete of the Year, in our athletic program, John has distinguished himself not only for the quality of his physical contributions, which are significant, but for the amount of heart that he brings to the team. Simply put, there’s no “give up” in him. In any given situation, he is the student most likely to stand up and cheer from the bench, to draw a charge, to lay out for a loose ball, and to get his teammates fired up in the final moments of a close game. While these are examples from sports, they hold true in every aspect of John’s life and future.

Please welcome him to the podium.

John Nieman delivers the Senior Farewell.

John: My English teachers have taught me to show through figurative language like similes to strengthen my writing. Well I will apply what I have learned, this class is like an onion. It has many layers. We are; artistic, athletic, intelligent, funny, and altruistic. These layers create a beautiful group well versed in accomplishments including; winning art shows, performing theatrical masterpieces, and contributing to wins on the soccer, football, and lacrosse fields, volleyball, tennis, and basketball courts, in swimming pools, rodeo arenas, hockey rinks, and on cross country courses. We also have spent countless hours procrastinating in Study Halls, at Starbucks and Taco Bells, and even at home. We have learned how to study for hours the night before and the block before our big tests. This accomplishment is clear in our class group chat, which consists of, “Is that project due tomorrow?” “Yes, Awesome, I’ll get started then.”

You see, our class learned how to improvise, how to adapt, and how to overcome any challenge we faced all the night before the due date. And that is why I am here. To prove to you that although we procrastinate, we will all contribute to some of the most influential changes of our time. Whether we are part of a lifesaving team, or an elite sports team, this will not be the last you hear of us.

Let me show the fields and minds we will change.

Kanye West once said, “Fashion is merely an opinion, and I have lots of opinions”. When you aren’t admiring this person’s fashion statement, you find a confident man who vocalizes his opinion and defends it. With his quest for knowledge, his confidence, and his determination, Steph Chen will undoubtedly succeed while studying business at Pennsylvania State University.

This person recently joined our class, but you wouldn’t know by the way he sits on this stage. An outstanding artist with intense detail and focus, he was creating detailed fish, birds and trees, while most of the class struggled to make flowers out of glass. I am excited to see what Jan Rybczynski will design after he attends RISD for industrial design.

If you can’t find this person in the classroom, then check the weight room. He often returned from lunch saying, “man I’m hungry”. Rather than eat calories, he burned them at the gym. I think Miles Gaylord will likely open his own gym, after he studies Business and Exercise Science at Northern Arizona University.

The next person does not shy away from the public eye. You can find her leading on the volleyball court, in the choir, and at any theatre production. Her openness and efficiency will certainly bring Hannah Gebhardt many friends and much success as she goes to San Diego State University to study Psychology.

You may know this person as a devout nerd, but he is also a powerful activist. He is a master debater, Forum President, and Model UN Secretary General and participant. With extensive knowledge, powerful persuasive skills, and drive, Tyler Brown will undoubtedly lead the class when he studies Economics and Politics at Yale University.

This person isn’t the loudest, and doesn’t tell the most jokes but when she speaks in class, everyone listens. On the soccer field she becomes a competitive elite athlete. Those who saw her score many goals also witnessed her setting two school scoring records. Katherine Hatch’s love for competition will lead to excellence when she studies Biology and Neuroscience at Colorado College.

When you think of this person, you might think of his energy on the soccer field or volleyball courts, but you likely also heard him racing down the sideline cheering on our teams. His high energy also showed in every class where he joked and participated almost as loudly and actively as on the field. This coming fall Jamie Bigbee will be infectiously cheering on the Buffs at University of Colorado at Boulder.

When you meet this person, three things instantly shine through; her love of animals, her friendliness, and her sass. These attributes are evident whether she’s acing a volleyball or competing in soccer. Molly Bigbee’s intelligence and fun outlook on life will surely make her successful when she studies Biology at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Some say laughter is the best medicine. If that is true, this person will never be sick. If you were in El Pomar you undoubtedly hear this person’s infectious laugh. Most people didn’t know what she was laughing about. Sometimes I think she didn’t know either. With her joyous attitude, Haddie Gorman will have plenty of smiles during her gap year after graduation.

She’s got the horses in back. Literally. After graduation today she will race to a rodeo as one of the best cowgirls in the nation. President Donald Trump once said, “if you are going to be thinking anything, think big.” Weaving State and National Rodeo competitions into her high school career, Grace Hill thinks big. So big that she will be going to Texas Tech University, in the home state of rodeo, to compete at a national level and study Journalism.

This next individual quickly exhibited her vast intelligence in all areas, especially in Psychology. She has attacked or defended almost every psychology theory. If you tell her you like Freudian theory, she can tell you that you are right for these reasons, wrong for those reasons, cite her sources and then finish with an overall thesis on her stance. With her passion, Zoe Holman will major in Psychology at Colorado State University.

Don’t underestimate this student who wears a green Shrek shirt. As Dr. Young stated, “He is a weird kid. If you let him slide by then he will, but if you pressure him at all, then he can easily get 100% and succeed in whatever he does.” While this student tries to hide his hard work, he is smart and often helps friends with last minute project. With much potential, Matthew Chavez will surely thrive when studying business at the University of Arizona.

This person has honesty, wit, and intelligence. Although quiet, she will always speak her mind. I remember a study hall where we had cravings for microwave taquitos. She stated, “Man, taquitos are better than significant others… Don’t tell my significant other.” Well I hate to say it, but I just told him. Sabrina Jackson will combine her engineering goals and creative skills when she studies architecture at Montana State University.

This person is a friend to all. When asked, others say she is kind, the shoulder to cry on, the unpaid therapist, and a teacher at heart. For capstone she worked with elementary students and her kindness shone through. She earned the service award the other night. That is why it is no surprise that Reese Ward will attend Grand Canyon University to study Elementary Education.

I don’t want to say too much about myself, but I sometimes say funny things, was deemed most likely to be blacklisted by the Mexican Government for attempting to build a Taco Bell in the capital, and I plan to study aeronautical Engineering at the Air Force Academy.

This next person often got us on to tangents. When the rest of the class was confused about quantum mechanics, this person asks about harnessing something into energy and therefore fueling the planet. Mr. Johnson wrote equation, googled some questions and responded with a definite- that might work. With his quest for knowledge Jack You will push the understandings of his professors when he studies Physics at the University of Denver.

She is creative beyond question. Her ingenuity has fashioned excellent essays and earned her a major role in poetry and art club. She is an editor for the Muse of Fire, the school’s literary magazine. This combined with her fashion-forward statements will surely bring Victoria Melton much attention and success as she studies Fashion Design at Savannah College of Art and Design.

This person is very vocal and opinionated. Our class deemed them “Most Likely to be a police officer.” Through Children’s School this person sought to be a detective or FBI agent. In middle school this person worked avidly to be a Police Sketch artist. In high school, their law enforcement dreams continued, so when the University of Colorado Colorado Springs offered the major of Criminal Justice, Sabryn Shtatman jumped on and will attend there next fall.

This person plays soccer, watches soccer, sings about soccer, and probably dreams about soccer. But he can help you with your AP Statistics or math. While he would rather joyfully talk about Messi missing a penalty kick or how this year’s soccer team is the best, his teachers see him as the next great sports statistician. So Joosung Kim will likely both lead the soccer team, and the soccer fan club, while studying statistics at Cornell University.

Bob Ross once said, “I can’t think of anything more rewarding than being able to express yourself to others through art.” This next person agrees. She honed her amazing skills as an artist and sculpturist at CSS and she has impressed many, including some art show judges, who awarded her efforts. With these past successes, Amber Wang will create masterpieces when she studies fine art and sculpture at School of Art Institute of Chicago.

This next person may have competed for our rival Fountain Valley Swimming these past years, but has been very successful anyway. I like to think she simply wanted to outshine the Danes. Other coaches said this athlete has the most potential out of the swimmers they have seen. With her commitment to working hard and outshining rivals Payton Malone will succeed as she studies Psychology at Emory University.

He will debate anything. Including Google and the dictionary. This May, while most seniors were talking about Capstone, their nails, or the NBA championships, this senior was watching a video on the battle of Midway. Not for a class, but because, and I quote, “We won and that’s cool, but why did we win and why was it so dramatic?” Luke Williams will fit right in when he studies Computer Science and Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

This final person is the only one I know who passed AP Econ, but then failed yearbook. He has a way with words, even though he often blamed a language barrier for mistakes, if you look in the Muse of Fire, you will read his awesome poems. This skill combined with his passion for sports will surely bring Jacky Zhang success as he studies Pre-Physical Therapy at UCCS.

We couldn’t be here today without others inspiring us. Dr. Young our economics and statistics teacher reminded us that the real world cares more about our understanding than the grade. He stated, “Theory doesn’t make you educated. Reading the newspaper doesn’t make you educated. Combining the two, theory and real world, that’s what makes you educated.” He also taught us “Luck favors the prepared mind.” We also remember our 8th grade teacher Mr. White who stated, “My goal is not to be the best, but rather to inspire and teach someone to one day surpass me.” Mr Haynes constantly relaxed our class with his simple phrase, “It all works out in the end.” This year he reminded us that if we got declined by a college, it was their loss, and that we would make them feel foolish in 20 years. I would love to praise every person who helped us along the way, but Monday is Memorial Day, and I would hate to hold you over the holiday weekend.

Wisdom can also come beyond CSS campus: As Sasquatch said, “Believe in yourself. ESPECIALLY when no one else will.” Jedi Master Yoda, “for inspiration look to yourself and those beside you.” And finally, from a true philosopher, Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” So seniors, look around. Live in the moment and enjoy the coming years.

Finally, thank you to the teachers, who thought we never listened, and challenged us. Thank you to the parents for supporting us through late nights and the occasional breakdown, and thank you to my class for letting me speak today. Through these precious memories we created, I see no future without success. So believe in yourself, shoot your shot, always full send, and don’t forget this class when you all get famous. I can’t wait to see what we will accomplish. Thank you, and God bless.

John Nieman delivers the Senior Farewell.