In the years since kindergarten, the Wellington High School Class of 2016 has seen a lot unfold in the world.
Addressing graduates Sunday, district superintendent Dennis Mock listed some of the events that have shaped society in the past 13 years: The Statue of Liberty was closed and reopened, YouTube was founded, Fidel Castro stepped down, Michael Jackson died, the first black president of the United States was elected, gas prices surged, the Harry Potter movies were released, Justin Bieber was “discovered,” Osama Bin Laden was tracked down, the PlayStation and XBox were developed, Pope John Paul II died, the nation suffered through the Boston Marathon bombings, and “twerk” and “selfie” were added to the dictionary.
Graduation day, June 12, holds its share of important historical events as well.
Mock listed O.J. Simpson’s flight from police in a Ford Bronco, the creation of the game of baseball (though its link to Civil War hero Abner Doubleday has been found untrue), and the transition of television signals from analog to digital.
Other June 12 events of note that helped shape the 20th and 21st centuries:
• 1939: The Baseball Hall of Fame opens in Cooperstown, N.Y.
• 1942: A 13-year-old Anne Frank receives a diary on her birthday.
• 1964: Civil rights leader Nelson Mandela is sentenced to life in prison for activism against apartheid.
• 1967: The U.S. Supreme Court rules all state laws against interracial marriage unconstitutional.
• 1991: Boris Yeltsin is elected president of the new Russian republic following the dissolution of the USSR.
• 1999: United Nations forces are deployed to intervene in the Kosovo War.
And tragically, the morning of commencement, 50 people were gunned down at the Pulse night club in Orlando, Fla. The shooting is the deadliest in U.S. history.
What matters is how the Class of 2016 shapes history for the better.
Jason Hawk | Wellington Enterprise Wellington Schools superintendent Dennis Mock speaks about the great shifts 2016 graduates have witnessed.