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School Year Comes Full Circle For RHS Graduating Seniors
A sea of mortarboards face the audience of parents, family members and friends at Riverbank High Schools 2017 graduation exercises on Friday, May 26 in the Ray Fauria Memorial Gymnasium. Some were plain, some indicated future ambitions, but more than a few expressed its students philosophy on graduating. Ric McGinnis/The News

With the familiar strains of Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance wafting through the air at Riverbank High School, the Class of 2017 marched into the Ray Fauria Memorial Gymnasium, taking their seats directly in front of the dais and on looking members of the district School Board. A mere 90 minutes later, they marched out to the same music.

They were off to face their friends, families and other loved ones, and most importantly, whether it be at work, at college or in the military, the 2017 Bruin graduating seniors were headed into their futures.

The ‘pomp’ began with the RHS Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps presenting the colors. They stood by as the crowd was led in the Pledge of Allegiance by Class President Marisa Rosas, followed by a woodwind quartet from the RHS band, led on clarinet by teacher Joseph Aguilar, and including senior Jakob Canfield on bass clarinet.

Everyone was welcomed by Dr. Sean Richey, RHS principal, then the senior awards and scholarships were summarized by Counselor Maritza Alvarez.

The titles of Valedictorian and Salutatorian, traditionally, go to the seniors with the highest Grade Point Averages. This year, however, there was a tie for second place, according to Richey, so two Salutatorians spoke, first Edgar Garcia, then Samuel Endsley.

Lydia Hodges spoke third, as Valedictorian, joining the others in discussing the students’ trials, tribulations and accomplishments. The class awards and scholarships totaled around $58,000, according the Alvarez.

Following the speeches, Dr. Richey presented the Class of 2017 and Dr. Daryl Camp, school district superintendent, accepted the class.

In his remarks, Dr. Camp took up on a brief thought mentioned by one of the student speakers. He, too, noted that next year’s class, 2018, will mark the 50th class to be graduating for Riverbank High School. It was founded in 1967, and the first class to graduate was in 1968.

Camp announced he is looking to form a committee to establish some kind of appropriate celebration of that event.

Next, was the ‘circumstance’ of the evening, the presentation of diplomas from School Board members, President Suzanne Dean, Elizabeth Meza, Susan Taylor, Ernest Velasco and Clerk Ana Vigil. Each student paused momentarily down front, posing for a photo with Camp, taken by a commercial photographer.

At its conclusion, a few closing remarks from Dr. Richey tied the bow on the event. The Pomp and Circumstance recessional whisked the graduates out of the gym and into the welcoming arms, and photo flashes, of friends, families and other loved ones.

The RHS graduation wrapped up a busy week of ceremonies in town, with Cardozo Middle School’s graduation held on Wednesday, May 24; and the Riverbank Language Academy and Adelante High School’s commencement on Thursday, May 25 preceding the high school’s convocation.