June 5, 2014

Class of 2014 graduations: Pride aplenty

Merced County’s high school principals are sorry to see the graduating seniors go. Principals describe these 3,000 students as leaders, multi-talented, trend-setting, giving, and academically-motivated.

Merced County’s high school principals are sorry to see the graduating seniors go. Principals describe these 3,000 students as leaders, multitalented, trendsetting, giving and academically motivated.

Seniors at Merced, Golden Valley, Atwater, Buhach Colony, Livingston and Hilmar high schools graduated Thursday night; seniors at Dos Palos, Gustine and Los Banos high schools graduate tonight; Delhi High School’s commencement is Thursday; and Le Grand High students graduated May 30.

The principals also say the future is bright for the new graduates and they are academically prepared for college, vocational training or the workforce.

John Olson, Merced High’s principal, said that more than he can remember from past years, members of the Class of 2014 are very giving. They also are one of the highest academically achieving groups he can remember and will be outstanding, productive young people.

“I’m so proud of that,” Olson said. “That’s not that common.”

Constantino Aguilar, Golden Valley High School’s principal, said his graduating seniors have incredible leadership skills that they have displayed all year.

“They have grown up in a brand-new world that many of us can’t comprehend,” Aguilar said. “There is a higher level of expectation for them; we expect them to do great things.”

Steve Hobbs, Buhach Colony’s principal, is optimistic about the future of his graduates.

“It’s a great group of young women and gentlemen,” Hobbs said. “Our community is in good hands. For them the future is particularly bright. They’ve put themselves in a good place to be successful. They’re ready for the next challenge.”

Atwater High Principal Alan Peterson said his staff members described the new grads as exceptional, extraordinary, trendsetters and unparalleled.

“The doors are wide open for these students,” Peterson said. “There are more salutatorians and valedictorians than in any class since I’ve been here.”

Ralph Calderon, Livingston High’s principal, said the new graduates are diverse, multital-ented and will serve the world well.

“They are a focused class for the most part,” Calderon said. “I think they will accomplish their goal. This is the first class that has been exposed to 21st-century learning skills for all four years.”

Le Grand High Principal Javier Martinez said the graduating class could best be characterized for its sense of unity, camaraderie and love for its community. More than 60 percent of the graduates completed at least 200 hours of community service.

“Although our future may seem uncertain, the LGHS graduates are ready to face and conquer any challenges they may encounter. They will be the next professionals that will be lighting the way to a brighter future,” Martinez said.

Ryan Hartsoch, Los Banos High’s principal, said the new graduates have been full of school spirit and are a very academically motivated group.

“They will be able to accomplish whatever they would like,” Hartsoch said. “The future is very bright for them.”

Jim Petrone, Gustine High School’s principal, said 30 percent of the graduates are headed to four-year colleges or universities and a number will attend junior colleges or vocational schools.

“Hopefully we have prepared them foundationally,” Petrone said. “They will be good citizens and contribute to society.”

Heather Ruiz, Dos Palos High’s principal, said her graduates are an exceptional group of young adults.

“They are well-rounded academically and athletically,” Ruiz said.

“I see a bright future for many of them. I’d like to hope we’re preparing students for college or career and they will find their place in society and be successful.”


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