STRATHMORE – Family and loved ones of Butterfield Charter’s Class of 2021 yelled and cheered as Pomp and Circumstance started playing at Spartan Stadium and the graduates, dressed in black and white gowns and caps, and wearing black facial masks walked down the steps of the stadium to take their respective socially-distanced seats on the bleachers.

“It’s exciting that we can be here. It surprised me. I didn’t think they were going to have (a graduation.) This is something very special,” said Marissa Rangel, who was there to see her sister Stefani Rodriguez graduate. “I’m very proud of my sister. She came a long way.”

Following the presentation of colors by the cadets of Porterville Military Academy, the program began with Dawn Crater, director of the school, thanking the crowd for being there and supporting the students.

“We’re here to celebrate your accomplishments. We’re here to celebrate the Butterfield Class of 2021,” Crater said. “Graduates, know we are proud of you.”

Associate director Perla Soria also spoke, addressing the crowd and the students in Spanish.

“This Class deserves to graduate with grand enthusiasm,” she said. “We’re proud of you.”

The ceremony continued with two student speakers – Carlos Rodriguez speaking in English, and Jasmin Garcia speaking in Spanish.

Rodriguez, who graduated a semester and a half early in October of 2020, completed his first semester at Porterville College with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

“As we move forward into our lives, remember your achievements and multiply the pride you are feeling right now by obtaining even more,” Rodriguez said and continued by quoting Jesse Owens and talked about having faith in oneself before ending. “Broncos, I salute your accomplishments and bid you Godspeed in your future endeavors.”

Garcia ended by also talking to her fellow graduates.

“I leave you with this,” she said in Spanish. “Do not let fear keep you from your dreams. Everything happens for a reason but continue forward.”

Krissta Kunze and Elizabeth Grant were both recognized as award recipients. Kunze received the Tulare County School Board Association Scholarship, and Grant, a Porterville College First Scholarship.

In addition, Sarah Aldana and Alondra Valle Tapia were recognized for receiving the California Biliteracy Seal Award, and Jimena Valdivia Perez, the California Biliteracy Seal and Medal.

The presentation of the candidates for graduation followed.

One by one, their names were called as the crowd once again cheered and yelled as their loved ones descended the stairs to receive their diploma before heading back up to their seats.

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