Members of the Class of 2016 at Riverbank High School took their first step into the future this past week as they walked the processional then the recessional at graduation exercises on campus. The former high school students turned graduates then left the Ray Fauria Memorial Gymnasium on Thursday, May 26 greeted by family and friends helping them celebrate the completion of four years of study and hard work.
With classes ending on Wednesday, the only remaining requirement was the ceremony, which was held before a standing-room-only crowd in the gym.
Members of the school district Board of Trustees and administrators took the stand, ultimately looking out over a sea of maroon colored caps and gowns before them as students marched in.
The Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps color guard presented the flag, standing by for the Pledge of Allegiance, led by Senior Class President Kathryn Searway and the singing of the National Anthem, by Brooke Rodriguez.
Associated Student Body President Miranda Alcantar welcomed the class. Salutatorian Emmanuel Maravilla and Valedictorians Eli Vernon, Ashley Delgado, Searway and Sara Tapia made their presentations, with Vernon his usual, flamboyant self, pacing back and forth, gesturing emphatically to punctuate his points, delivering his thoughts in rhyming verse.
Assistant Superintendent Christine Facella presented the Class of 2016, with Riverbank Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Daryl Camp formally accepting the class. RHS Principal Sean Richey was notably absent, but excused, since he was attending his own graduation ceremony, receiving his Doctorate on the same night.
As he usually does, Dr. Camp noted how many in the group of students had joined him in sporting his trademark bow tie. He pointed out that earlier in the week, 14 Cardozo Middle School graduates participated in the tradition. He said he was glad to announce that there were 18 RHS seniors, including one girl, wearing bow ties on Thursday night.
Of the 147 graduating seniors, the program listed 80 who received one or more scholarships or other awards.
The ceremonies then moved on to the presentation of diplomas and the recessional, to the traditional strains of ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ by Sir Edward Elgar, with graduates exiting to celebrate their achievement with family and friends in front of the gym. Bouquets, cards, hugs and plenty of photo opportunities awaited the new graduates.