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Future Is Bright For Class Of 2014
Laura Soto, Nayely Rivas, and Dulce Gomez were taking a moment reflecting outside the Bruin Gym prior to the start of the graduation festivities at Riverbank High School. - photo by VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

Being the Class of 2014 didn’t just mean something to the Riverbank High School seniors but it was also a special time for the eighth grade students that were promoted from Cardozo Middle School. The week was filled with commencement ceremonies for both the high school and the middle school.

There were 166 students that were promoted at Cardozo Middle School (CMS) on Thursday, May 22 in an outdoor ceremony on the school campus.

CMS Principal, Kevin Bizzini addressed the crowd and began the ceremony by reflecting on the year and explained that the class of 2014 is very special to him.

“Students from the last fourth grade class, from Rio Altura Elementary School, that I taught were in this eighth grade class,” said Bizzini. “No matter a teacher or a Principal, I always consider those students as my kids.”

Teacher Danielle Jensen presented the Laura C.C. Petersen award to Samantha Eitelgeorge and Ryan Choeb.

Bizzini then recognized all the students that had academic excellence with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or above in their career at Cardozo.

Salutatorian, Guadalupe Rodriguez gave a speech and Valedictorian, Ryan Choeb followed addressing the CMS Class of 2014.

Student body president, Jesus Azuniga gave the farewell remarks and thanked the sidewalk for keeping him “off the streets” in a light hearted closing.

“We are always so grateful that the community of Riverbank attends in large numbers to honor the academic accomplishments of our students and does so with the respect the students and the ceremony deserves,” stated Bizzini.

A total of 134 seniors graduated from Riverbank High School on Friday, May 23 in ceremonies staged in the Ray Fauria Gym.

The opening ceremonies included the presentation of the colors by the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Senior Class President Vanessa Ramos.

Senior Caroline Schauf sang the National Anthem for the guests at the graduation ceremonies.

Principal Diana Jimenez introduced Mayor Richard O’Brien, School District Superintendent Daryl Camp, and Board of Trustees members Connie Gilbert, Suzanne Dean, Susan Taylor, and Elizabeth Meza to all the guests.

Valedictorian Edward Guardado III gave a positive speech to the Class of 2014 quoting John Green, “what is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable.”

“Riverbank did a pretty good job with us, if I do say so myself,” said Guardado. Then he ended his speech with a little advice to his fellow classmates, “have fun, change the world, go do something remarkable.”

In a speech by Valedictorian Casey Floyd, he shared some memories of his high school career at Riverbank High School expressing that they had made some amazing memories.

“This isn’t the end, it’s only the beginning of something greater for each and every one of us,” said Floyd. “Uncertainty is another word for opportunity.”

“Wow, where has the time gone,” said Valedictorian Jonathen Beliera. “Our memories will be linked forever.”

Beliera also thanked his family, teachers, and coaches.

The final Valedictorian speech was given by Veronica Gonzalez, who shared that she didn’t know how to speak English when she first came to this country six years ago.

“Everything is possible if you want it with all your heart,” said Gonzalez. “Make the most of your talent and strengths.”

Jimenez certified the diplomas and then passed the dais over to Camp, who thanked the staff at RHS.

“It is truly a family here at Riverbank High School,” said Camp. “We hope you come back and contribute to our community.”

Camp gave his speech in both English and Spanish and made sure to thank the families and community for all the support.

Camp recognized all the students at Cardozo and RHS during the commencement ceremonies that were sporting a bow tie, which is a Camp signature clothing item.

Jimenez also thanked the parents and the community for their support of RHS. She also gave the Class of 2014 a few words of wisdom explaining that we are given three names, one our parents give us, one our friends give us, and the one that they will make for themselves.

“Graduates, it is time for you to dream big and strive for greatness,” stated Jimenez.

The ceremony ended with Schauf singing the Alma Mater accompanied by Band Director, Joey Aguilar who played the clarinet.

The Class of 2014 threw their caps in the air, cheered, and left the gym with excitement to meet their loved ones outside, no longer students, but official high school graduates.