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CVHS seniors say bye
Central Valley High School ushered its class of 321 seniors into the world during a warm Thursday evening ceremony marked by songs, speeches, jubilation and at the end parting hugs, smiles and laughter.

Parents, siblings, grandparent, uncles and aunts and other family members and friends packed in before the courtyard amphitheatre to witness the school's fifth-ever graduation.

Graduates marched to the ceremony wearing teal green caps and gowns - which exposed flip flops, tennis shoes and even cowboy boots - to Pomp and Circumstances played by the school concert band. This was followed by the posting of colors by the American Legion Post 491 and singing of the National Anthem by Lauren Szabo, Sandra Rubio and Linda Garcia.

Senior Class President Kayla Schipper welcomed all, recounting highlights of her four years at CVHS. "Some might say I've seen it all in these four short years, but as we leave the nest and soar into the next part of our lives, we know there is so much more to see," she said.

Salutatorians Anna Cristina Morales and Drucella Miranda took turns delivering sentences from their Senior Address titled, "Remember the Days."

"Becoming a part of Central Valley High School became the stepping stone into the world," the seniors said. "We grew up in Ceres not only building memories but creating our dreams. We not only built our character but our sense of community through this school, whether it be through academics, sports, art, leadership, clubs, music or friendships. Whether we know it or not, we have grown as individuals along with our school. Entering as freshmen, we experienced the class of '09, the second graduating class here at CV. They were the upperclassmen we looked up to. Because of how new our school was as well as our class, we were able to influence new activities and traditions here."

Morales and Miranda ended their speech with this: "Remember wherever you go, go with all your heart. No matter where life takes you in the future, go far, but keep close."

"I Will Remember You," a song popularized by Sarah McLachlan, was performed by a quartet of seniors Nelly Juarez, Ester Rivas, Claudia Gonzalez and Mariecarmen Mulgado.

Laura Valencia and salutatorian Alejandro "Alexx" Sanchez delivered the Spanish-only address titled, "Si Se Puede." "No matter where destiny takes us, all of us have something in common which is spending four years of our teenage years here at Central Valley High School," said Sanchez. "We have shared many moments together," added Valencia, "which will always be in our hearts."

They closed quoting Cesar Chavez who said, "Si se puede," or "Yes, it is possible."

Three other class salutatorians - Chantrea Chau, Hugo Contreras and Alexis Ulloa - did not give speeches.

Valedictorian Anthony Stavrianoudakis shared his thoughts about the occasion of leaving high school in his "Look Over There" speech.

"All through high school," said Stavrianoudakis, "we basically do what we are told to do, and many of us will continue to do so in college or jobs, and that's okay. But what we should try to remember is not to lose ourselves, not become a person who we don't want to be. Maybe some lie to themselves so they can gain acceptance or stand out in the eyes or their peers. Maybe the answer to success is to change who you are so you can get the grade, or get the job, which are both important but really it's up to each of us as individuals to decide who we are. Who are we? What are we going to do with our lives? The time has come for us to determine our futures."

He also focussed on the trademarks of various teachers he encountered in his years at CVHS, saying the audience could "blame the psychological post modern approach of this speech on Mr. Frederickson and Mr. Rutishauser."

Principal Amy Peterman bid farewell to the class, sharing highlights and impacts certain seniors made on her.

"Behind me stands a group of individuals to take on the world," said Peterman. "Their experiences at Central Valley have prepared them for what lies ahead, experiences that they will remember as they tackle challenges and celebrate successes, as they become the responsible and productive citizens that our society so desperately needs."