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Ceres High graduates 388 seniors
Arendt sisters, Jazmyne and Dominique
The Arendt sisters, Jazmyne and Dominique, were happy and smiling they graduated from Ceres High School on Friday evening. - photo by Dale Butler

It was a joyous occasion at Bulldog Stadium Friday evening as 388 graduating seniors donned caps and gowns while collecting diplomas during Ceres High School’s commencement ceremony.

ASB President Ayla Weldon delivered the salutatorian and welcome and addresses. She thanked family, friends and teachers.

“We all have our stories,” said Weldon, who will attend UC Davis this fall. “I’ve spent about 13 years in this school district, that’s part of my story. Growing up with a single mother is also part of my story. One I’m sure many of you here can relate to. When I look back on it, I was fortunate enough to experience this. How is this fortunate, you may ask. Well, if I didn’t grow up the way I did, and had not had the experiences I did, I would not be standing in front of you today, I would not be the person I am today. My mother showed me that no matter the obstacles given to you, no matter how dark and ugly the storm gets, it will pass. Things may even be better for it. From her, I learned that you shouldn’t settle. If you are unhappy with the way your life is, you have the power to change your story and write a different one. Even though it took a little while, she changed her story and went back to school at 34 and decided she wanted better, not only for her family, but for herself. She changed her story. In the process she showed her daughter the importance of an education, the importance of perseverance, and that although it may be scary, change is sometimes necessary. So before I continue, I would like to thank my mother, for all that she’s done for me, for all that she’s taught me. I’m proud of you.

“To Mr. Ellenbarger, who I owe a great thank you to for helping me find my love for reading and writing, which helped me get through so much, good and bad. 

To Mr. Banderas, thank you for being there, always willing to listen. Not only to me, but to others. 

To my step-dad, who decided nine years ago to fill in the role of a father figure in my life, when he didn’t have to, I thank you for always believing in me, for encouraging me, and for showing me the power we have to change generational cycles, and write our own stories.

To my brother, who despite everything he’s been through, has never given up and encouraged me to take risks, good ones of course. He’s more excited about me going to college than I am. 

To my friends, it’s been an experience to say the least, but I wouldn’t want to go through it with anyone else. Thank you for making these past few years memorable and I hope many more memorable years are to come.”

Ayla Weldon
Ceres High School ASB President Ayla Weldon delivered salutatorian and welcome speeches at Ceres High’s graduation ceremony. - photo by DALE BUTLER/Ceres Courier

Valedictorian Diego Moya talked about the challenges many students faced during their journey through high school.

He’ll continue his education at UC Berkeley.

“Like life, high school can be described as a series of challenges that we have to overcome,” Moya said. “While COVID was an exceptional challenge, we still had to face the everyday challenges that come with high school. When we think of ‘high school problems,’ we might think of turning in that essay or worksheet on time, or waking up early to not be tardy. I’ll admit that I myself barely made it to school on time most days; my first period teacher Mr. Ellenbarger can confirm that.  But the truth is the hardest and most weighing problems we have in high school are the ones we don’t want to talk about.  Losing a close family member, not having a great home environment, experiencing a suffocating panic attack, or having to come face to face with thoughts of self-harm.  These problems are beyond high school problems, they’re life problems.  They are an unfortunate, but true reality of our lives.

I stand up here talking about these challenges and struggles not to just remind ourselves of trauma or bad experiences, but to remind ourselves of what we have been able to fight through and overcome to get to where we are today.  We need to make sure that we actually know how valuable this moment is, because despite every personal, social, mental, or academic challenge you’ve faced in the last four years, you’re sitting here in red grad robes getting ready to hear your name called. You stared these challenges in the eyes, and did not blink.  And what I want to say is, you should be proud of yourself for that.  You should be proud of yourself for battling through any odds you have faced in the last four years of your life and being here tonight.  You should be proud of yourself even if you feel no one else will be. And yeah, even if you feel you finessed your way through, you should still feel proud of yourself. Going forward in life, you can’t afford to lose faith in yourself or in what you can do, because anything you want to accomplish will always start and end with you.  Perseverance and determination are the reasons we’re graduating tonight, and they’ll be the reasons we do many great things going forward.  So right now, be proud of yourself, be proud of the people you stood side by side with throughout this rollercoaster of a journey, and be proud of the people who lifted you up so you could reach this moment. Good luck to everyone, and go live your life.”

Diego Moya
Diego Moya had the honor of delivering the valedictorian speech during Ceres High’s commencement ceremony. - photo by Dale Butler

Principal Rita Menezes reflected on the past, present and future while bidding farewell to the class of 2023.

She remembered meeting most of her students when they were in junior high.

“As I sat down to gather my thoughts about the class of 2023, I realized that you and I have a special connection,” she said. “You are the first graduating class that I’ve been with as principal for all four years!  You and I all started at Ceres High in the fall of 2019. In fact, I met you back when you were tiny, scared eighth graders way back in January of 2019. Back then you were Warriors, Tigers, and some of you even Sharks and Wolves.  And even though you each came here from different junior high schools and backgrounds, you would all join together to become the Bulldogs who sit before me today.”

Rita Menezes
Ceres High School Principal Rita Menezes reflected on the past, present and future while bidding farewell to the class of 2023. - photo by Dale Butler

Ceres High School Wind Ensemble with seniors Evelyn Alvarez, Geovanni Cimental, Leah Diaz, Madalynn Hayes, Izabel Hollingsworth, Landon Hortstman, Miguel Laurean, Jade Mendonca, Faraz Naeem, Alexis Ortega Mercado, Cristian Palomares, Sebastian Reisdorff, Javier Torres and Haley Whitworth performed the Star Spangled Banner.

CUSD Supt. Denise Wickham attended Ceres High’s graduation ceremony, along with Ceres School Board members Lourdes Perez, Hugo Molina, David McConnell, Faye Lane, Brian de la Porte, Cynthia Ruiz and Valli Wigt.

The 388 seniors graduating in the class of 2023 are:


​Benjamin Acevedo

Dakota R. Adams

​Gabrielle N. Aguilar

​Jessica C. Alba

​Nicholas M. Alcala

​Joseph M. Alsobrook

​Evelyn P. Alvarez

​Isabella G. Amerson

​Natalia M. Andrade

​Ahmad Arshad Aram

​Johnny C. Arce-Hayes

​Marco A. Arellano ​Lopez

​Dominique M. Arendt

​Jazmyne S. Arendt

​Citlalli I. Arredondo

​Ana Q. Arreguin ​Carrasco

​Jennifer V. Arreola


​Prisila Arteaga ​Bravo

​Daniel C. Baker

​Alondra Banuelos ​Figueroa

Marlene Barajas Sánchez 

​Jacob M. Barraza

​Moses R. Barraza

Kevin Bautista Lopez

Jesus Bautista ​Roman

Raul Bernal

​Cesar Bolanos ​Aleman

Marcus M. Bower

​Emma Lee E. Bradshaw

​Elicya A. Bravo

​Nelia T. Brima

Remy Lewis Brown

​Jayda R. Bryant


​Manuel Cabadas-​Martinez

​Mario A. Calderon ​Uribe

​Nicholas Campbell

​Jazmin Cancino ​Sanchez

​Daniel Carranza

Ximena Carranza

​Christopher Carranza ​Gomez

​Oscar Carrillo

​Jackilyn Castillo ​Gallegos

​Karla N. Ceballos

​Jesus E. Ceja ​Perez

​Monica Cendejas

​Kelvin Cerda ​Pedraza

​Jesus Chavez

​Paola Chavez

​Alondra Chavez ​Ceja

​Joseph Chavez ​Flores

​Karina Chonqui ​Burgara

​Geovanni Cimental

​Jose J Cisneros ​Rivera

​Camille E. Clemmer

​Marisa V. Colunga

​Itzel Contreras ​Flores

​Kristina E. Corbin

​Natalie A. Corbin

​Quetzalli Y. Cortez

​Alejandro Cortez ​Aguilar

​Dalyze R. Cruz

Monserrat Cruz

Jorge A. Cruz

​Carlos R Cuevas ​Sanchez


​Allan M. Davila

​Haley A. Davis

​Anthony R. De ​La ​Paz

​Isaiah De ​La ​Torre

​Ariana M. Delgado

​Isaac R. Delgado

​Jeremiah I. Diaz

Leah E. Diaz

Pedro S. Diaz

​Luis A Diego ​Serrano

​Samuel M Dunning ​Guerrero

​Preston G. Durham


​Alejandro Elizalde

​Adrian S. Enriquez

​Jelaine Joy G. Esguerra

​Maria Esparza ​Zamora

​Alan A Espinoza

​Carmen M. Espinoza

​Jesus Espinoza ​Castro

​Adrian I. Estrada

​Arturo E. Estrada

​Jose Estrada

​Luis A. Estrada


​Shalia Faroon

​Kaitlyn M. Fausett

​David Flores

​Pedro Flores ​Chavez

​Nathaniel F. Frazier


​Joel Gallo ​Saldana

​Jersain Galvan ​Arguello

​Paola K Gamino-​Garibay

​Brandon Garcia

​Dayanara N. Garcia

​Eduardo A. Garcia

​Evan J. Garcia

​Maria R. Garcia

​Sofia V. Garcia

Fátima Ahylen García-Soto

​Vicente L. Garza

​Eric Gaytan ​Garfias

​Nolan A. George

​Tatum E. George

Mylah Ann Faye Gil

Jacqueline Godinez 

​Gabriela M. Godinho

​Jeremy J. Godwin

​Natalie N. Gomes ​Valdovinos

​Kaylee Gomez

Saul Gomez

​Diana Gonzalez

​Eleazar G. Gonzalez

​Gabriel Gonzalez

​Jorge A. Gonzalez

​Jose M. Gonzalez

​Kimberly E. Gonzalez

​Manuel T. Gonzalez

​Mayra Gonzalez

​Alicia Graciano ​Cabrera

​Amaya M. Green

​Alexis M. Gutierrez

​Citlalli Y. Gutierrez

​Damian M. Gutierrez

​Gissele Gutierrez

​Alondra N. Guzman ​Perez


​Makayla R. Hair

​Jada L. Harris

​Madalynn L. Hayes

​Jeremy O. Hebb

Corbin Heredia

​Miriam Hermosillo ​Landeros

​Alexsandra Hernandez

​Deanna E. Hernandez

​Kareli S. Hernandez

​Xander I. Hernandez

​Jesus Hernandez ​Valencia

​Andrea I. Hernandez-​Reynoso

​Sammantha P. Hill

​Izabel M. Hollingsworth

​Anousone Homsombath

​Landon D. Horstman

​Landyn G. Hudson


​Priscilla Ibarra

​Paulina T. Iniguez

​Jaqueline Islas

Luke C. Ivey


​Jaylin T. Jackson

​Alexander A. Jaimes ​Leal

​Cayden B. Jantz

​Giovanni Jimenez

​Emma E. Johnson

​Hannah K. Johnson

​Keira M. Johnson


​Anas M. Kahloon

​Joseph P. Kamber

​Jasmeenjot Kaur

​Sukhreet Kaur

Seth N. Kiser

​Tyler J. Krepela


​Benjamin Larranaga

​Miguel A. Laurean

​Tarrell J. Lee-​Gill

Alonso Lepe

​Gabriela A. Lomeli

​Adrian Lopez

​Ariana Lopez

​Eduardo Lopez

​Gerardo M. Lopez

​Thomas J. Lopez

​Cynthia M. Lua

Victor D. Lua


Omar Maciel

​Belany L. Madrigal

​Bianca Madrigal

Carlos Madrigal

​Briseida D. Madrigal-​Martinez

​Destiny G. Maldonado

​Jillian F. Mande

​Haylee S. Mann

Michelle Manzano Martínez 

​Samuel A. Mariscal

​Alysabeth J. Marquez

​Jorge Marquez ​Borunda

​Angel Martinez

​Sehren M. Martinez

​Xzayvier N. Martinez

​Daniela Martinez ​Rodriguez

​Richard A Martinez-​Morales

​Matthew R McCleskey

​Seth W. McGuire

Daniel Mecina

​Jorge A. Medina

​Yahir Medina

​Jose M. Medina ​Pineda

Jaleen Melendez

​Adriel Melgar

​Oscar D. Melgar ​Ramirez

​Jada M. Mendes

​Yoselin Mendez

​Jade A. Mendonca

​Enrique Menera

​Michael Meza

​James Meza ​Espinoza

​Joshua M. Miguel

​Mandrell E. Miller

​Gabriel M. Miranda

​Nathan D. Miranda

​Belal H. Mohsin

​Esmeralda Mondragon

​Bruce A. Monroe

​Diego Monroy

​Adrian Montanez

​Jacquline Montanez

​Lucia Montanez ​Castro

Axel Montanez ​Ruiz

​Yarexly Morales

​Karen Moreno

Diego A. Moya

Joel Munoz

​Isabella M. Murillo

​Kasandra Murillo

​Emely D. Murillo ​Servin


​Faraz A. Naeem

​Lilliana L. Nance

​Dayna A. Naylor

​Zainab Nazir

​Monterrian Neang

​Gabriel Nevarez

​Kimberly M. Noriega-​Flores

Diego Nunez

​Norma A. Nunez ​Murry


​Ashley M. Ochoa

​Kassandra G. Ochoa

​Miriam S. Ochoa

​Payton F. Ogden

​Ethan James L. Oiterong

Sofia Olide

​Marlene Olivares

​Jasmine Olmedo

​Adrian I. Ontiveros

​Daniel A. Orellana ​Romero

​Devinee E. Origel

Daneli Michelle Oropeza Mendoza 

​Brayan U. Orozco

​Jesus Orozco ​Andrade

​Luis M Ortega

​Alexis A Ortega ​Mercado

​Jesse J. Ortiz


​Camila Padilla

​Angel M. Palma

​Cristian J. Palomares

​Jesus Palomino

​Riley L. Panyanouvong

​Nadia I. Pedrisco ​Cabrera

​Gabriella C. Penzotti

​Alyssa L. Petty

​Fatima Piceno ​Castillo

​Monserrat Piceno ​Castillo

​Alejandro Plantillas ​Rosas

​Aundre S Posadas

​Abigayil Prado

​Joshua L Prestridge

​Giselle Prieto

​Nancy Prieto

​James A. Puentes

​Adrian P. Pulido

​Giulia Puonzo


​Regina Quevedo

​Javier E. Quinones

​Nataly Quiroz ​Sanchez


​Abigail Ramirez

​Christian A. Ramirez

​Viridiana Ramirez

Jose R Ramirez ​Del ​Rio

​Jissela Ramos

​Karicia J. Ramos

Sky S. Ramos

​Jeanet Ramos ​Montanez

​Jasmine Ravelo

​Joshua J. Ravera

​Sebastian L. Reisdorff

​Michelle E. Reyes

​Andrea E. Reynolds

Kiara Rios

​Alejandro S. Rios ​Valencia

​Alma D. Robles

​Zephaniah V. Rochell

Brianna Yvette Rodriguez 

​Gabriel A. Rodriguez

​Izaiah A. Rodriguez

​Joseph A. Rodriguez

​Joshua Rodriguez

​Yetlanetzi Rodriguez

​Joshua Rodriguez ​Rivera

Mauricio Rogriguez De La Mora

​Luis M. Rojas ​Moreno

​Nathan Roman

​Ramiro Romero

​Raul A. Romero ​Eligio

Luis C. Rubio

Destiny D. Sandoval


​Jazlyn L. Ruiz

Angel Ruiz 

Yahir Ruiz

​Vanessa Ruiz ​Perez


​Gabriel Sabalza ​Ramirez

​Yaritza I. Salamanca

​Isaiah Z. Saldana

​Daniel A. Sanchez

​Eduardo Luis Sanchez

​Geraldine Sanchez

​Jacqueline Sanchez

​Marcos Sanchez

​Alondra M Sanchez ​Orozco

​Alexa Sandoval

​Damian Sandoval

​Angelina A. Santillian

​Elia M. Scalise

Prerna P. Sen

Michael Sexton

​Logan L. Sierras

​Jesse J. Sinclair

​Guralam Singh

​Kahmi J. Smith

​Landon A. Smith

​Angel Solano

​Robert C. Solano

​David A. Solis

​Estrella Soto ​Rivera

​Jewell Lynn Stahl

​LeBron Stallworth

​Ricky R. Stanley

​Aliyah Strehl

​Kaden Stroud

​Jesus Suarez

​Jacob R. Swanson


​David R. Tanner

​Luis J. Tapia ​Herrera

​Erin D. Thomas

​Matthew T. Thomas

​Alfredo Toledo

​Alyssa M. Torres

​Angela Torres

​Jennifer K. Torres

​Javier J. Torres ​Nunez

​Diego Torres ​Rodriguez

​Jocelyn Toscano

​Mary Trammel

​Tavion R. Travis

​Faiva N. Tuakalau

​Haley L. Tyler


Sabrina Uribe

Athena Ursua


Isabella N. Valencia

​Joselin G. Valencia

​Ava M. Vanderheiden

​Carlos I. Vanegas

​Cyrus M. Vargas

​Guadalupe Y. Vasquez

​Diana G. Vasquez ​Duenas

​Rodrigo Velazquez ​Olvera

​Henry Viayra

​Andres Victoria

​Fabian Vidrio

​Erica E. Vieira

Rosendo Nicholas Vieyra

​Uziel Villagomez

​David Villanueva ​Corado

​Arturo C. Villasenor


​Enrique Walle

​Ayla I. Weldon

​Alfred Z Wesir

​Haley A. Whitworth

​Brandon D Williams

​Lorelia L. Wood


​Ethan M. Xiong


​Denisse Yepez

​Diego J. Yepez

​Joshua X. Yepez

​Jonathan A. Yepez ​Rios


​Eduardo B. Zamora ​Servin

​Hector Zamora ​Villasenor

​Alessandro Zaragoza

​Judith A. Zaragoza

​Cristian Zavalza