Staff and administrators of Cardozo Middle School held a Promotion Ceremony for their 2022 eighth graders this past week.
In what might have proven to serve as a test run for the RHS graduation held the next day, the CMS event began at 7:30 p.m., on Wednesday, May 25 in the Angelo Novi Stadium on the high school campus.
Last year, the event started at 6 p.m., in bright sun, with the audience sitting in folding chairs on the grass field, staring into that setting sun throughout the evening, with the graduating students sitting six-feet, socially-distanced apart in the grandstand.
This time, school officials tried a different approach, with parents sitting in the grandstands, and in overflow bleachers moved onto the track at either end of the student seating. Everyone had their backs to the sun except those who were seated on the stage, but the start time was moved to 7:30 p.m., so that the sun was behind the grandstand, and everyone was in shade.
A bit of breeze that evening took the edge off the warm temperature.
The ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ processional began right on time, with students entering the track and filing into the seating area. A flag salute was led by Student Body President Austin Givargiznia, and the National Anthem was performed by students Anthony Banh and Jeancarlo Torres, along with Band Director Dave Howard.
The crowd and students were welcomed by CMS Principal Kevin Bizzini, with VP Eduina Azevedo translating into Spanish for him.
The pair then presented two students with this year’s Laura C. C. Peterson Award. It went to Torres and Jimena Gomez.
Administrators noted that Peterson was a former, longtime teacher at the school, who wanted to show her appreciation to the students who did well academically and who would go ‘above and beyond’ to make things better, at school, home, church, in sports, band, arts and community. She is said to have believe that “a well-rounded person could help improve the quality of life of those around them.”
Next came recognition of Academic Excellence in students who have maintained an average grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher through all 12 quarters at Cardozo. This group included 12 eighth grade students: Valeria Aguilar Vigil, Alexis Cardenas, Giselle Fernandez, Gabriel Garcia Vargas, Austin Givargiznia, Gomez, Ava Maez, Chayan Maldonado, Nataly Rivera, Amy Stump, Torres and Lilibeth Vigil.
Valedictorians Fernandez, Gomez and Torres spoke next, sharing with the audience some of what they had learned along the way, in addition to their hopes for the future.
Where normally a class Valedictorian is chosen as the student with the highest GPA, this year CMS faced a tie, so all three were chosen to speak.
On behalf of the Riverbank Unified School District Board of Trustees, Superintendent Christine Facella accepted the Class of 2022, then certificates were awarded.
After a farewell speech by Student Body President Givargiznia and a closing by Principal Bizzini, the recessional saw newly-promoted students, gathering with their friends and families, exchanging gifts and posing for photos.