This article was written by BenitoLink intern Marisa Sachau.
On June 3 San Benito High School welcomed this year’s senior class to celebrate their graduation. It was the first graduation ceremony in two years in which social distancing and masks were not required. As many of the speakers at the ceremony said they have begun the transition to normalcy.
The procession of nearly 750 graduates walked up the multipurpose field to their seats to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance.” Eagle Scouts led the presentation of colors and graduating senior Mia Villegas said the pledge of allegiance. Graduate Genesis Orellana Moreta sang the National Anthem with a strong voice that left spectators whistling and applauding. Graduate Kayla Ferry sang “To Sir With Love,” to her fellow classmates as their class song.
Graduates Joe Fata and Esmeralda Nunez began the ceremony by thanking everyone for being there as well as the faculty at San Benito High School.
“And lastly, thank you to our graduates. It is our honor to be the first individuals to say: we did it,” Fata said. “Keep trying to reach your full potential and make all your dreams come true. The future is truly in your hands.”
Associated Student Body President Antonio Lara thanked his classmates for showing him respect and being supportive during his term of service, and for knowing it is okay if he shows his emotions despite being the student leader of the school.
Toward the end of his speech, Lara thanked his family and administrators including Principal Adrian Ramirez and Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum for their support.
Tennenbaum began his speech by saying he was thankful to be there along with numerous faculty to celebrate the occasion. He also expressed his gratitude to teachers and staff for their support of the graduating class.
Addressing the students, he continued: “As your superintendent, I’m extremely proud of you for all that you’ve accomplished and will accomplish in life. Our school community is fortunate to have had the opportunity to play a small role in your life.”
Ramirez chose one word to describe this year’s graduating class: resilient. “This is the class who dealt with COVID-19 lockdowns in the midst of their high school careers,” Ramirez said. “But you are now the most resilient graduating class in the history of San Benito High School.”
Ramirez also urged the class to keep growing and be a change in the world as they leave the halls of San Benito High.
Senior Class President Sofia Abonce reminded her classmates of all the great memories they have made over the past four years, and Salutatorian Charlotte Meredith gave an encouraging speech reminding her classmates that no matter what path they are on, they will do great things.
Valedictorian Nicholas Carpenedo gave a speech that offered both humor and heart. “And of course, we can’t thank our parents enough for all of their love, support and encouragement, and for dragging us out of bed every morning to make sure we would get to class on time. Maybe that last one was just me,” said Carpenedo.
As graduates began receiving their diplomas, whoops and hollers were constantly heard from the audience. Some graduates danced as they made their way down the ramp, the joy on their faces.
Scholar athletes Tyler Pacheco and Villegas led their classmates in the tassel change as they officially became SBHS alumni.
Graduate Chris Jamrok was happy to be a part of the celebration. He said, “All the memories I made…the memories of playing soccer, hanging out with my friends. It was just something I’ll always remember. It was an amazing experience.”
Jamrok plans to play college soccer at Evergreen State University in Olympia, Washington.
As Lara said on behalf of the Class of 2022, “Once a Baler, Always a Baler.”
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