By MICHAEL LINGBERG firstname.lastname@example.org
Micaela Reid will attend San Joaquin Valley College. William Reid III will take up farming. Guadalupe Moreno will move to Seattle for school and Jacob Purdin will study criminology. Some will enroll in cosmetology school while others will enter the military.
That’s just some of the things Strathmore High School’s 2014 graduating class will be doing in the fall. In all, 71 students were granted the right to move their tassels to the other side of the hat and then toss the cap into the air in celebration Friday night at Spartan Stadium.
In a bilingual ceremony, the theme was all about the journey from timid freshman to experienced senior. FFA Scholar and CSF Seal Bearer Anna Clifton opened the ceremony by giving credit to all those who have supported her throughout her four years: parents, family and friends. Then she made a statement that made everyone in attendance cheer.
“I’m graduating,” she said.
Jacqueline Lemus talked about how she’ll always remember going to school in Strathmore.
“Once a Spartan,” she said, “always a Spartan.”
Sitting directly in front of the podium and the graduating seniors, underclassmen Ann Ordonez, Adrian Ordonez, Alex Lemus and Edgar Buenrostro were there for their friends Coby Duffin and Valedictorian Amy Baldwin. Each were wearing a white shirt with one letter painted in either red or blue. And depending which side of the shirt was facing the front, the four spelled “Coby” or “Amy.” They’ve known each other since the fourth grade so they were there for support.
“We’re proud of them and what they accomplished,” Adrian Ordonez said.
Eventually Duffin came up to speak and had a clear message for her classmates for when they get out into the real world.
“Don’t stop,” she said. “Keep working hard with anything you do.”
And perhaps most importantly, don’t forget who supported you.
Porterville Unified School District board members Patricia Contreras and Sharon Gill were given the honor of first shaking hands with the graduates and giving them their diplomas. Contreras especially liked how individual the ceremony turned out to be.
“I enjoyed it very much,” she said. “It was individualized in a way to make it unique for friends and families. It was a beautiful graduation.”