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Class Of 2013 Off To New Heights
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Christian Torres, right, took the podium to lead the crowd in the packed Fauria Gym in the Pledge of Allegiance at the graduation ceremonies on Friday, May 24. Middle, Principal Christine Facella and left, Nicholas Campbell, assisted with the festivities. Virginia Still/The News

Students and staff were lined up in the old Bruin Gym filled with anticipation for the Graduation Ceremony to commence on Friday, May 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the Ray Fauria Memorial Gym.

As friends and family gathered in the newer Fauria gym waiting for their graduate to walk in, they had their cameras ready and flowers in hand.

The opening ceremony started out with the NJROTC presenting the colors, Christian Torres leading the guests in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Nicholas Campbell singing the National Anthem.

Salutatorian Luis Solorio gave the opening address and one thing he stated was, “Riverbank has been home to all of us and the memories we have will stay with us forever. And may the odds be ever in your favor.”

During the presentation of the Class of 2013, RHS Principal Christine Facella stated that the number of suspensions and expulsions have dropped dramatically this school year.

“It is a pleasure to work on a campus where students treat each other well and see themselves as Bruin family,” said Facella.

She also added that seven students will be joining the military, four students are going to technical schools, 39 students will be attending Modesto Junior College, and 38 students are headed to a four-year college or university.

Facella also shared a quote with the graduates from former President Ronald Reagan stating, “There are no such things as limits to grow because there are no limits to the human capacity for intelligence, imagination, and wonder.”

Superintendent Dr. Daryl Camp also gave a speech congratulating the students and thanking the faculty and parents for their hard work, efforts and support. Camp also stated that the Academic Performance Index score for the school has risen and has gone up every year for the past few years. On a lighter note, he also recognized the students that were wearing bow ties and had them all stand, as Camp is usually seen wearing a signature bow tie as well.

Valedictorians Sara Do, Joaquin Felix, and Tori Sandoval ended the graduation festivities with a farewell address to their fellow students.

Do started her speech with a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien, “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

Felix asked for a moment of silence during his speech for the people in Oklahoma that were affected by the disastrous tornados and reminded everyone to embrace the life that we have been given and not take anyone or anything for granted.

Sandoval ending her speech stating, “We have one thing in common, we are the class of 2013. Stay true to yourselves.”

Following the tassel turning and presentation of diplomas, the Bruins were officially considered graduates.

The new high school graduates will now be venturing off into the world to start the next chapter of their lives.

Emily Banner has enlisted in the Army and has only nine days to enjoy her summer. She will be shipping off to Fort Jackson, South Carolina on Monday, June 3. Banner expressed that she had a lot of fun at RHS and will miss her fellow students.

Mayra Benitez-Mora was feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment following the graduation ceremony. She expressed that she had a very fun senior year and will miss her friends. Benitez-Mora will be going to a four-year college for nursing.

Juan Ascencio is very happy about graduating and plans to go to Modesto Junior College to become a design artist.

These are just a few students that have big dreams after graduating from Riverbank High School, Class of 2013.