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Eagles Will Soar Into High School
Students participate in the graduation exercises of Cardozo Middle School last week by sitting ‘socially distanced’ on the metal bleachers of the grandstand at Angelo Novi Stadium on the RHS campus. Ric McGinnis/The News

Cardozo Middle School hosted its eighth grade Promotion Ceremony on Wednesday, May 26 in the evening at the Angelo Novi Stadium on the Riverbank High School campus. As the sun was starting to go down parents were in chairs in the grass area and the students were spaced out in the bleachers.

“The promotion ceremony went well,” stated Cardozo Principal Kevin Bizzini. “Having it at RHS, we were able to comply with social distancing requirements and accommodate a much awaited in-person celebration of student accomplishments.”

With the Pomp and Circumstance playing as the students, parents and RUSD Board of Trustees took their positions, the in-person ceremony began. Everyone stood for the flag salute that was led by student body president Avah Luu. Guests continued to stand as the National Anthem was performed by Dave Howard and the band.

“Holding it at an off-site venue created some challenges in the beginning,” remarked Bizzini about the new location of the promotion. “Getting 160 students to RHS for practice and back to CMS for our 12 p.m. dismissal was a little rushed. Executing the promotion procession to the stage and back from the stadium seating required more practice than we had time for. However, the following evening at the promotion our eighth graders really stepped up and participated in a fashion that made their families and their teachers proud.”

Vice Principal Eduina Azevedo presented the Laura C.C. Petersen Award to Valedictorian Alan Albor. Petersen worked at Cardozo for many years and believed that a well-rounded person could help improve the quality of life of those around them. She appreciated the students that did well academically.

“2020-21 was a challenging year for everyone,” added Bizzini. “Our students and families really stepped up to carry the responsibilities typically held by our school system. There is no measure of gratitude I could extend that would compensate the Riverbank community’s sacrifices on our behalf. Our teachers should also be recognized for their tireless efforts planning and facilitating meaningful learning experiences in the throes of the pandemic. Virtual education challenged our school system to pivot on the fly; our CMS teachers met the challenge because of their dedication and love for our students. Having students in-person over the last couple of months took a little of the sting out of a year where face-to-face interactions were sorely missed.”

The following students were recognized for Academic Excellence: Alan Albor, Tori Bost, Trish Bost, Lorenzo Ceniceros, Jeremiah Cook, Landon Johnson, Kaitlyn Manning, Daisy Mendez Mendoza, Jesus Rodriguez Herrera, Alondra Solorio, Elias Vargas, and Anthony White. Manning was the Salutatorian.

Luu presented the students with a farewell speech and Bizzini gave closing remarks.

“At the end of the ceremony the eighth graders circled the track to have an opportunity to say thank you to their family members that had gathered outside the stadium,” noted Bizzini. “This action was not practiced; it was an impromptu move by our eighth graders. I think it really showed their appreciation and respect to people that have supported them over the years. Limited access to the event was an unfortunate necessity, but our eighth graders demonstrated a heartfelt consolation which I know meant a lot to those family members not able to enter the stadium.”

The class of 2021 had over 150 students that received their promotion certificates that will be moving on to high school with another school year completed with a traditional Eagle Day celebration.

RUSD Board Member Susan Taylor hands out one of many diplomas to a Cardozo Middle School eighth grader, headed to Riverbank High next year. It was during commencement exercises on Wednesday, May 26, recognizing the most recent class of eighth graders at CMS. Ric McGinnis/The News