For 100 years, Strathmore High School has been a small, close-knit school in a small close-knit community.

As the sun set on Spartan Stadium on Thursday night that point was driven home as the Strathmore High graduates of the Class of 2021 walked down the steps at Spartan Stadium to take their places in the bleachers to begin their graduation ceremony. As they took their places, they sat down under the banner that said: “100 YEARS OF SPARTAN TRADITION.”

Class Valedictorian Noemi Castro Villalobos talked about when she quickly found out has close-knit a school Strathmore High was when she first came to the school as a freshman. She said she found out “everybody knows everybody.”

At the end of her welcome speech, Erica Bedolla Cisneros also summarized the closeness of the school. “This will always be our home,” Cisneros said. “Go Spartans.”

Cisneros began her speech by saying it was time “to celebrate the 100th graduating class of Strathmore High, the class of 2021.”

And of course Cisneros and Villalobos talked about what the students had to overcome during the COVID-19 pandemic to make it to their graduation on Thursday. “We lost half our high school experience to COVID,” Cisneros said.

Cisneros noted the class didn't have the final chance to experience Friday Night Lights, Homecoming or Prom.

But Villalobos noted it wasn't just the major events the class lost out on, but “many of our simple activities like hanging out with our classmates and hanging out lunch.”

But through it all, Cisneros said she and her classmates persevered. “I'm proud of every single one of us,” she said. “We made it.”

Villalobos echoed that point when she said, “I think we can ge through anything.”

After the Class of 21 took their places and after an introduction by SHS principal Diane Rankin that began the ceremony, graduate Miguel Carranza led the flag salute. Cisneros then followed with her address which was translated by Crystal Cisneros Mata.

Vice Principal Andrew Peterson then presented the California Scholastic Federation Lifetime Seal Bearers. Rankin following by presenting the Future Farmers of America Scholars and students who achieved the Golden State Seal by mastering six or more subjects, students who achieved biliteracy and students who completed a Pathway.

Villalobos followed with her speech. After that was the awarding of diplomas by Porterville Unified School District board member Pete Lara and then the presentation of the class by Rankin.

Rankin noted all the accomplishments of the class. “This is a class that exceeded all expectations in academics, athletic achievement and college acceptance,” she said. “To say we are proud of you is an understatement. You have made this an amazing journey.”

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