Tony Newman, Ramona High School principal for the past seven years, gave his last speech as principal at the Class of 2013 graduation on June 12. A Class of 1989 RHS graduate, Newman moves to the district office as assistant superintendent of human resources development for Ramona Unified on July 1. Following are some of his remarks to this year's graduates.
What a night! It is very exciting to be here with family and friends as we honor and celebrate these 376 graduating seniors. Tonight is the culminating event of a 13-year journey. For these students the last leg of this journey started here at Ramona High School four short years ago.
For four years I have walked into each classroom and stopped at their desks and asked the question, “What are you learning today?” Most of the time they are able to tell me exactly what they are expected to learn.
Tonight I want to flip the tables and instead of asking them what have they learned, I want to share what I’ve learned from them and what they’ve taught me.
As mentioned by our salutatorians I’ve learned that, even though most of you can’t get to class on time every morning, if we bring in KUSI TV, the whole senior class can get up at 4 in the morning and be at school for an alarm clock pep rally and a chance to show your school pride and spirit. Another lesson I’ve learned from this senior class is that they have a creative spirit and really know how to put on a show as evidenced by a fantastic blast to the past homecoming week.
A third lesson I’ve learned from these seniors is that they have the heart of champions. First, we were treated to an electrifying run by the football team through the San Diego CIF playoffs that culminated in a championship game appearance that captured the attention of our entire community. This success was followed by league championships and historic seasons. The team that demonstrated the most heart combined with determination and talent was our school’s first ever San Diego CIF Championship Water Polo team.
This senior class has also taught me they want to be challenged. With these seniors leading the way, the number of students taking AP classes and exams continued to climb year after year. Using SAT and ACT scores as a measurement, this senior class will be remembered as one of the highest achieving classes in school history. An additional lesson learned is that Ramona has some serious talent in the areas of music, auto and agriculture. This senior class has also taught me to believe in the underdog. I mean when our RHS drumline and spirit fans lined up across from the Lincoln High School student body, my first thought was, “Oh, this is not gonna be good,” but I was wrong. These seniors sitting here today showed courage, creativity, and surprising rhythm and dance moves to pull off the underdog victory.
Lastly, the most important lesson I’ve learned from you is that relationships really do matter. This is a lesson I know I share with every parent, grandparent, family member and friend here tonight. These last four years have given us all opportunities where we’ve struggled alongside you, mourned with you, and our hearts have been broken for you. However, we’ve also had opportunities to laugh with you, cheer for you, encourage you and most of all to celebrate you. Through each of these highs and lows, it’s the relationships we’ve had with each one of you that have made all the difference. It’s those relationships that we’ll take with us from this journey we’ve been on together.