As pleasant breezes swept through the Central Valley High School amphitheater Thursday evening, a gamut of emotions were experienced by the 416 members of the class, one of the school’s largest. Graduation represented the end of high school for the seniors who now face challenges of going to college or trade school, serving in the military or finding work right away.
After the singing of the National Anthem by Esther Esceverri Ruvalcaba, Senior Class President Ruby Del Valle gave the welcome address.
“This long awaited day is finally here,” said Del Valle. “After four years of headaches, fears, smiles, laughs – and lots of caffeine – I am happy to say we made it. It seems like just yesterday we were at freshman orientation.”
She said the culture of the campus “left a special imprint in our hearts, allowing us to grow closer as a class.”
Of the relationships forged at the school, Del Valle said “whether they’re miles away or down the street, these are the relationships we are going to carry in our hearts throughout our lives.”
Ruby thanked family members, teachers for being supportive and encouraging throughout the high school experience.
Iran Torres Aleman, one of the class’ 16 salutatorians, delivered the Senior Address. The class of 2019 had 16 salutatorians this year since Central Valley selects all students earning a 4.0 grade point average or higher for the honor. They were Iran Torres Aleman, Iris Arellano, Simran Chahal, Sanvir Dhillon, Giselle Ramirez Gonzalez, Haley Graham, Giselle Meza-Guiterrez, Julissa Martinez Rivas, Argelia Mendoza, Tayna Mendoza Valencia, Oscar Molina, Jacqueline Ruiz, Anmolpreet Sangha, Gabriel Rodriguez and Elisabeth Valdez.
Aleman reflected on the milestone and the changes they bring to graduates and their families.
“Change is good. If change did not exist, we would probably still be single-celled organisms,” said Aleman. “You see, the thing is we can’t get too comfortable in one spot because we would never be allowed to grow. Facing a big change our lives forces us to change our own selves in order to adapt. It is usually in this aggregation that we tend to become better people.”
She quoted William Shakespeare: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.”
“In life we can’t count on two of these but what we can count on is if we work hard and push past the obstacles we will end up achieving greatness. I now know what I want to be when I grow up – I want to be great.”
She wished her classmates the best as they seek out greatness.
Valedictorian Karla Soto Cuevas congratulated her fellow graduates.
“I know this evening brings up many emotions for all of us, mostly excitement and fear,” said Cuevas. “For many of us, we are the first generation to acquire a high school diploma, and we should all be immensely proud of having reached this milestone. As we persist onto our future paths, we’ll undoubtedly continue encountering more experiences that are new to us. Mistake will be common. Fear will be second nature. But as Mr. Richards says, ‘Don’t miss the forest for the trees.’ Let’s not become so caught up with small inconveniences that we forget our overarching goals.”
She suggested that her fellow graduates should not be concerned with making the right decisions every time, rather “making them confidently and work to prove why the decision … was the right one.”
“We must never become so satisfied with our achievements that we stop signing up for life’s difficult lessons,” said Karla, who is headed to Princeton University in the fall.
“You make the decisions about what direction your future takes and I encourage you to make your decisions wisely,” Lubinsky told the departing seniors. “You will have successes, and you will have what appear to be failures, but those failures will turn into successes if you learn from them. I truly believe that if you don’t make mistakes in life, then you aren’t challenging yourself enough.”
Iris Arellano offered the Senior Spanish Address which wasn’t translated in English.
Principal Carol Lubinsky gave an address highlighting the various achievements of students, ranging from FFA, rallies, sports, band and choir to drama. She noted that 16 students earned grade point averages of 4.0 or above and 268 earned a GPA of 3.0 or above.
“We are proud of the 73 of you who have earned the Seal of Biliteracy,” offered the principal.
The class of seniors has 78 percent planning to attend a junior college, four-year college or a trade school with 12 going into the military. Eighteen plan to go directly into the workforce.
Members of the Ceres Unified School District Board passed out diplomas.
Principal Lubinsky greeted her outgoing students with handshakes and hugs before the flipping of tassels marked the end of a long journey.
The end of the ceremony was punctuated by the playing of “We Are Young” by the music group Fun.