The State Theatre glowed in Shaker Heights High School’s distinctive red and white as the district graduated some 370 students Thursday night.
In a ceremony that sparkled with poetry, humor and a crisp rendition of Bach’s Vivace movement from the “Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor,” student John Desmond stole the show.
Desmond, who is blind and autistic, received a standing ovation as he walked across the stage holding his diploma. At his side was his Braille teacher, Sheree Ricketts, who he has known since age 3.
Graduates Caira Lee and Ian Mercer spoke at the ceremony, with Lee providing depth and Mercer dispensing humor.
“Identify your demons and overcome them,” Lee said after nervously asking the audience to take a deep breath with her just before she started. Not to worry; she made it to the end with poise.
A brasher Mercer countered with a bit of irreverence for those who were uncertain where their lives might lead after high school.
“Not knowing your path doesn’t mean you’re condemned to be an ice cream driver,” he quipped.