336 diplomas awarded
It was a warm and breezy night Wednesday at Jacob Rankin Stadium for the commencement ceremony of Monache High School’s newest graduating class.
Thousands of parents, grandparents, guardians, friends and well-wishers packed the bleachers to watch the powder blue- and gold-clad seniors attend their final high school ceremony.
“Today we are in the presence of greatness,” said Dr. Eric Barba, principal at Monache. “Before us today there are 336 reasons why tonight, and for weeks to come, there will be well-deserved celebrations throughout all of Porterville.”
The first year principal of the high school also took a moment to thank the graduates’ parents.
“Parents here tonight, what your children have accomplished is not easy and without a doubt, requires much effort and dedication,” he said. “You have every reason in the world to shine with absolute pride.”
This year’s valedictorians were Zachary Acencio, Julissa Andrade, Megan Jelliza Marron, Iris Martinez, David Nuno, Gregory Porter and Arnel Sahagon.
“The lessons we take from our experiences at Monache are never-ending,” said Chloe Holmes, senior class president. “We began this as children but we are leaving here as adults.”
Isabel LoBue, associated student body president, spoke to her classmates about the prospect of life after high school.
“Today’s the day we say goodbye to familiar faces and hello to new beginnings,” she said. “The education we have received here has served as a foundation to launch us into the future.”
LoBue implored the graduates to never forget where they came from and to recognize their past accomplishments.
“Remember the relationships we formed with teachers who felt like family, who devoted their time not just to education but also our well-being,” she said. “These are the memories that will shape us forever.”
Barba praised the significance of the evening.
“Today, the entire Porterville community radiates with pride, for we do not only celebrate a graduation but we celebrate the fact that while the entire nation faces the reality that less students are graduating from high school, the young men and women here today proclaim in one collective voice, ‘Look at us; we did not become that statistic,’” he said. “‘Look at us; we are true scholars. Look at us; we are the graduating class of 2016!”