Education

Class of 2009: Golden Valley High School

SUN-STAR PHOTO BY MARCI STENBERG
Golden Valley graduates touch the schools mascot, the cougar, as they walk to their seats, Thursday, June 4, 2009 evening in Golden Valley High Schools quad area.
SUN-STAR PHOTO BY MARCI STENBERG Golden Valley graduates touch the schools mascot, the cougar, as they walk to their seats, Thursday, June 4, 2009 evening in Golden Valley High Schools quad area. Merced Sun-Star

The ceremony: 6:45 p.m., Golden Valley High School Quad

School mascot: Cougar

School colors: Cardinal red and gold

Number of graduates: 517

Time it took for graduates to march in: 12 minutes

Number of valedictorians (4.0 gpa or above): 10

Number of salutatorians: (minimum gpa of 4.0): 9

Number of California Scholarship Federation lifetime members: 34

Greetings addressed in four languages: English, Spanish, Hmong, Tagalog

Class speakers: Spencer Smith, Jeff Spinardi, Christian Vega, Tessa Smith, Kyle Tanaka and Andrea Ramos

What they said: Spencer Smith said graduates are starting a new path, a new journey to a new destination. Spinardi urged graduates to always be a contributing member of society and give back to the community, never letting the world pass you by. Vega said this is just the beginning along the giant burrito of life. Life is scary but you must get used to it. Nothing in the world comes easy but graduates should look forward to the future with optimism. Tessa Smith stressed the need to follow-through, and not to get distracted from short-term projects and long-term goals. Tanaka urged graduates never to settle for mediocrity and said they also received an education from each other as well as teachers along the way.

Scholarship recipients: 156

Other accomplishments: 54 students earned silver cords for completing a minimum of 250 community service hours; 11 students had perfect attendance for four years; one student, Patrick Lauppe, was named a National Merit Finalist; and the Cardinal Regime marched in the Tournament of Roses Parade.

One proud parent: Keith Fletcher, whose son Alex, 18, graduated.

What he said: My son worked hard to graduate and his classmates are a "great bunch of kids."

Principal: Craig Chavez

What he said: Remembering when he graduated 20 years ago, he urged students to always tell the truth, take on the hurdles and challenges that are sure to come and say thank you to those who help along the way. He said the graduates were a very successful group of students who must build on their accomplishments in the years ahead.

Class gift: Garrett Perez, senior class president, gave the school an electronic message board.

-- Doane Yawger

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