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Ceres High ushers 255 into the world
A week of Ceres Unified School District graduations came to a close Friday when more than 250 Ceres High seniors received their diplomas at Bulldog Stadium in front of parents, relatives and friends.

The CHS class of 2008 will be one to remember as it leaves behind an unprecedented legacy.

"You are unique," stated Principal Bob Palous. "Both individually and collectively, you have achieved success. As a class, more of you will go to a university than any other class before you. Twenty five percent are going to either a UC, CSU or a private university. As a class, you have brought special recognition to Ceres High. During your four years, you have helped raise Ceres High's ranking from a 7 to a 10. The highest possible score. But more importantly, you grew into compassionate, warm and understanding young men and women. You will now take these qualities that lie deep within you and they will serve as the foundation for your future achievements."

Valedictorian Sydney Featherstone and co-salutorians Kevin Fliflet and George Polovin delivered one-of-a-kind speeches.

Featherstone drew laughs from her classmates and the crowd when sharing some of her most memorable moments. She accumulated a 4.387 grade-point average over four years at Ceres High.

"At the beginning of the year, only about two months after I had my license, a student sitting in this very audience threw his shoe at my car and scared me half to death as I was driving into the student parking lot in the morning," said Featherstone. "It took me about a week to stop being angry at him. But now, I think that I should be appreciative if anything because all he wanted was to make me laugh and loosen me up a bit since I do have a tendency to be slightly uptight. He's an amazing person, he's a good friend, and I wish nothing but great things for his future. This student was not the only person to notice that I do tend to get stressed out. And he was not the only student to attempt to make me laugh. Another person who I've gotten to know better this year is someone who has an odd way of showing how much she cares. She puts salt and pepper in my drinks when I'm not looking. And she will laugh when I start to drink them without telling me that she's done anything. Despite her actions, she considers me a good friend and I can truthfully say that I reciprocate those feelings and appreciate her efforts to make our last year on the tennis team memorable.

"I thought that being named valedictorian would be the most unforgettable moment of high school, but it's tied with one other moment that is definitely unforgettable for me," Featherstone added. "A moment that many unfortunately witnessed. That moment was when I, the valedictorian, crashed my car while coming into the parking lot. Not once but twice because I didn't get enough sleep the night before. The damage was minimal but I would like to say sorry to the student whose car I hit. And more importantly, I'd like to say sorry to my parents. That day was exactly what you were always worried about and you handled it well considering the circumstances."

Fliflet and Polovin posted identical GPAs of 4.336.

"You know, this graduation speech is supposed to be about how far we've come in life and how much we have achieved so far," Kevin said. "It's supposed to be about the friends we've made and the challenges we've overcome. But I don't think that graduation from high school is about that. Instead, I'm up here to tell you what I see as the truth about this day and this speech. There is so much in store for us after this moment. All of us have so many years ahead of us. We've only been through one-fifth of our lives, maybe one-sixth. So here's what graduation is about. Graduation is about creating our own path from here on, rather than walking the one that has been scripted for us. Graduation is an end to 13 years of sailing societies safe harbor, and the beginning of navigating the world's rough seas. Graduation is the transition to living life by our own accord and at our own expense. Graduation is where we stop blaming the teachers or the assignments and start taking responsibility for ourselves. Graduation is about letting go of the homes we've had for so long, only to make homes of our very own. Graduation is a farewell to our childhood. So, even as we look forward, here's to this day. Here's to living life the way we want from here on out. Here's to the end of Saturday schools, tardies, dress codes and progress reports. Here's good-bye to high school's drama and hello to real life. Here's to the friends we've made and won't forget. And here's to those we've haven't met or made yet. Here's to life's unexpected joys. But most of all, here's to us Class of '08, but only so far."

Said Polovin: "Tonight, I will not be thanking parents, friends, or teachers for our success as graduates. Sorry family and friends. You can hurt me later. Year after year, I have listened to countless graduation speeches all thanking belabored clichés like teachers, relatives and close friends. Don't get me wrong. Teachers and family are inevitably a huge influence on these graduates. Without teachers, we couldn't learn. Without families, we couldn't love. But tonight, I thank the individual. I honor every single graduate sitting before me. And I want us to recognize ourselves for bringing ourselves this far and to graduation. Because without the students, there is no progress. There is no school. And most of all, there is no graduation. There can be no group without the individual as a base."

Senior band students Ashley Avila, Adam Brace, Ryan Calou, Zoila Estrada, Tyler Garcia, Veronica Lott, Morgan Richardson and Jesse Trejo performed "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Accompanied by Fliflet, Polovin, Tim Wares and Evan Fonda, Alejandra Jimenez sung the class song, "Don't Forget to Remember Me."

The day culminated with the traditional turning of tassels and throwing of caps.