Honoring the past and looking forward to the future was the tone the Class of 2014 took as students celebrated their final time together last week.
For the second year in a row, the Los Banos Unified School District held the commencement ceremonies for its two high schools at the same time.
Los Banos High students cheered one another on June 6 at Loftin Stadium on as they reminisced about fond memories of their time in secondary school. The valedictorians delivered retrospectives on how they and their classmates have grown. Their memories span from being unsure freshman, sophomores who had learned the ropes, juniors with the newfound freedom of having a driver’s license and seniors.
“After I was elected last year I was a bit startled ... the name itself – senior, class president. We were about to be seniors in high school,” said Joshua Carlucci, a co-valedictorian who recalled this past school year as the most fast paced time of his life. “The inquiry where are you applying turned into where’d you get accepted, and finally begged where are you going? We gathered here to celebrate not only what has been, but what will be.”
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Co-valedictorian Zhi Gordon Lu, thanked his classmates for helping him overcome his shyness and adapting to America after he immigrated from China.
“You students are some of the most kind-hearted people I’ve met in America,” Lu said. “In all of our lifetimes we will be offered the chance to do something new, exciting and life changing. I cannot stress the importance of taking the first step. Since I finally took that step I’m happier now.”
The ceremony also featured Colton Taylor and Bianca Soares receiving the Citizenship Award and nearly 40 students becoming California Scholarship Federation lifetime members.
Los Banos High Principal Ryan Hartsoch complimented the Class of 2014 on their school pride. Hartsoch asked the seniors to look at one another and acknowledge that they have spent the past 13 years of their lives attending school with their people sitting with them.
“We like to call it Tiger Pride,” he said, referencing the school’s mascot. “When you leave here tonight you will begin heading in many different directions. ... Tigers you’ll always be, no matter where you go and what you do. I want you to remember that.”
Over at Pacheco High School, students received their diploma proclamation from Assistant Superintendent Paul Enos. New to this year’s ceremony was the passing of the torch, where the graduating senior class president hands the honor over to the incoming senior class president. Valedictorian Gabriela Ayala Garcia and Salutatorian Spencer Heaton also gave their speeches. Three hundred and forty-two students graduated from Pacheco High.