Above: Felicia Magana waves and celebrates after receiving her diploma last Friday Below: Daniel Kohr waves to his family and large crowd after receiving his diploma

SPHS Class of 2014 called amazing and outstanding at graduation

June 18, 2014
Santa Paula News

Santa Paula High School Principal Elizabeth Garcia called the Class of 2014 an amazing and outstanding class at graduation ceremonies, held Thursday evening on Jones Field.

Garcia said, “Santa Paula High School Cardinals have proven that they are academically ready for life outside of high school. They have received over $250,000 dollars in awards and scholarships and as Principal of Santa Paula High School I am tremendously proud that 67 percent of this class have plans to pursue a higher education.” She added that she commends the class of 310 graduates “For a job well done.”

“I have been a principal of Santa Paula High School for the past three years, since the Class of 2014 were in their sophomore year,” she added. “I have had the pleasure of seeing each one of our graduates become young men and women who proudly represent the community of Santa Paula. I have witnessed their successes and done my best to support them through any challenges that they have faced. Each of us family, friends, teachers and staff has confidence in the Class of 2014. Many in this class have interned in the community, performed community service and impacted Santa Paula in a positive way.  The graduates have made the best of their time here at Santa Paula High School, participating in traditions such as the Santa Paula vs. Fillmore 100th game and the historic Main Street Homecoming Parade. Seniors have spent many late nights working on homework, cheering on their classmates at sporting events and taking notes in classes. Every accomplishment that our graduates have attained, we celebrate and look forward to your future successes.

Garcia also told the graduates, “I want our seniors to remember that Santa Paula is their home and that they are Cardinals forever! The Class of 2014 has so much spirit and will carry that with them as they move to the next stage in their lives. Seniors - always be respectful, remember to come back to your community and give from your heart, stay humble, strive to do your best and ambitiously pursue your goals while always remembering to encourage those around you. Santa Paula is a better place because of you!

Following the Pledge of Allegiance and the playing of the National Anthem by the SPHS band, the student speakers came forward.

First up was Vanessa Chavez, ASB Vice President. She said that, during their time on the hill, “We’ve created inseparable bonds, and made memories we can now cherish forever. They say, “Friends are family you choose for yourself,” and I truly believe Santa Paula High School creates that environment for its students. Together, we have built one of the greatest families any one of us could ever ask for, and now, we are accomplishing our biggest goal to date - high school graduation.”

She noted that her class had made many amazing memories, yet also experienced a tragic loss. “I would like to take a moment to remember our Cardinal angel in Heaven, Blanca Montiel, who left us too soon.  Although she is not here in body today, she is here with us in spirit.”

Chavez concluded, “To my class, always remember, nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks and fall forward, every failed experiment is one step closer to success! Therefore, to accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe. Wishing you all the best of luck in your future and congratulations to the graduating class of 2014!” 

Senior Class President Sierra Blair told her classmates, “Today we say goodbye to everything that was familiar and everything that was comfortable.  We are moving on.  Today is the day to applaud our successes, reflect on our accomplishments and think about our future.   Most of us will move on to a variety of new adventures, including leaving for college, acquiring new jobs or a number of other opportunities.”

She added, “Behind every graduate there are many individuals providing support in a variety of ways.  There are several people that come to mind for me.  First off, I’d like to thank my parents for giving me so much love and support throughout my life.  I could not have been the Senior Class President I was this year without the unending support of my mom.  You guys can thank her for all of those Krispy Kreme donuts! You all have parents or family members who have stood behind you and teachers that have been there to support you along the way.” Blair added, “As I leave for Berkeley in the fall, I take with me many memories of Santa Paula High School. We’ve made our educators, our parents and our families proud, now let’s go out and make them even prouder.”

Valedictorian Jeffrey Lopez reminded his class of their school journey. “I want all of you to take a moment and think back on all the memories you’ve made in these past 13 years,” he said. “All the way from being scared your first day of kindergarten, to running around playing tag with your friends in second grade, to promoting from middle school, to the turbulent years of high school with all its moments of despair and moments of triumph. We’ve changed and grown up in front of each other’s eyes during those 13 years and created bonds with one another that cannot be broken, as well as creating memories with each other that will never be forgotten.”

Lopez closed with these words to his classmates, “Wherever you go in life, whether you go to college, to the armed forces or to the work force, remember this, be the best you can be at whatever you set yourself to and don’t let anyone stop you from achieving your goals. With hard work anything is attainable, because nothing in this world can replace hard work and determination and the will to succeed.”

SPUSD Superintendent Alfonso Gamino told the gathering, “You have reached a significant milestone in your lives. And the time has come for you to go on with the next part of your life’s journey. Don’t be afraid to take opportunities that come your way. Remember, there will be challenges along the way. Jump over them, walk around them, or do whatever you need to do, but stay the course and always keep your goals in front of you. Learn to embrace change, because with change comes new opportunities.

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