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RHS, Adelante Seniors Feted During 2022 Commencement
Members of the graduating Class of 2022 at Riverbank High School are encouraged to stand, turn and thank the friends and family in the grandstand for their help in achieving their goals. The effort came during ceremonies in the Angelo Novi Stadium on the RHS campus on Thursday, May 26. A total of 166 seniors received their diplomas at the end of the event. Ric McGinnis/The News

Friends, family members and the Riverbank High Class of 2022 gathered on campus on Thursday evening, May 26, to celebrate graduation there, in the Angelo Novi Stadium.

With the start time pushed back compared to last year, to take advantage of an expected cooler setting sun behind the grandstand, the audience this time was seated in the stands. They were in the shade, as were the graduates themselves, in folding chairs on the all-weather track surface, with overflow seating on either side of the students, and smaller, movable bleachers beyond them on both ends.

This year, however, graduation exercises were greeted with overcast skies and a bit of a breeze.

At precisely 7:30 p.m., strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” wafted over the stadium PA system, and the procession began. Led by Superintendent Christine Facella, the Riverbank Unified School District Board members were first in line, followed by RHS teachers, then the graduating seniors.

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Monica Hernandez, Student Body President, and the National Anthem was performed by a music trumpet ensemble of two students and Band Director Joey Aguilar.

The class was welcomed by Principal Greg Diaz, who told them he had struggled a bit, working on his speech. He didn’t want to have to dwell on the effects of the pandemic over the past few years, but instead spoke of hope; hope for the now and for their future.

RHS Counselor Maritza Alvarez then recognized members of the class who received senior awards and scholarships. Of the 166 graduating seniors, 76 received an award of some type.

Next on the program were Valedictorian Christian Vigil and Salutatorian Itzel Caldron Flores, who spoke to their classmates, mostly expressing their appreciation for those who had helped them in the past and their own hopes for the future.

At this point, Principal Diaz presented the Class of 2022 to Riverbank Unified School District Superintendent Christine Facella. She, in turn, commented on the obstacles the students had to overcome, then accepted the class for graduation.

Row by row, the class then split to both ends of the stage, lining up to be greeted by Facella or Diaz, along with members of the RUSD Board of Trustees, who issued their diplomas.

Following a few brief comments by Diaz, the students moved their tassels on the mortarboards from one side to the other, symbolizing their graduation, before throwing the hats into the air. Then they split up all over the stadium for congratulations, presents and photos with friends and family.


Adelante Graduation

While RHS graduated on Thursday, the day before, seniors at Adelante High School in Riverbank held their own graduation ceremony, in the Ray Fauria Memorial Gymnasium on the high school campus. It was scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on May 25 so board members also could attend the Cardozo Middle School promotion later that evening.

The 23 members of the graduating class were welcomed, along with the audience, by Principal Ed Vaca. He was followed by Salutatorian Carina Vasquez and Valedictorian Yvonne Avila.

Both spoke of their path through the continuation high school, then teacher Fred Wood took the podium.

That was followed by the awarding of the diplomas, then, the class was accepted by Superintendent Facella. After that, the class moved their tassels from one side to the other on their graduation caps.

As a recessional, the class gathered in front of the folded up bleachers on the other side of the gym to throw those caps into the air.

Adelante High Valedictorian Yvonne Avila speaks before 2022 classmates, faculty and staff during graduation exercises on Wednesday, May 25. Carina Vasquez was the Salutatorian. The event began at 6 p.m., so school board members could also participate in the Cardozo Middle School Promotion Ceremony later that evening. Ric McGinnis/The News
RHS Principal Greg Diaz welcomes friends, parents and families to the 2022 graduation ceremony, with the help of Counselor Maritza Alvarez, who translated into Spanish. The May 26 festivities saw 166 seniors receive their diplomas. Ric McGinnis/The News
Some of the graduates of Adelante High School’s 2022 senior class move to change the tassels on the mortarboard caps from one side to the other, just after receiving their diplomas during ceremonies in the RHS Fauria Gym on Wednesday, May 25. Ric McGinnis/The News
RUSD Superintendent Christine Facella pauses for a moment for a photograph with an Adelante High graduate during ceremonies in the Fauria Gym on the Riverbank High School campus, on Wednesday, May 25. Twenty-three members of the continuation high school received their diplomas that evening, as part of the class of 2022. Ric McGinnis/The News
Throngs of friends and family members filled the stadium seating at Angelo Novi Stadium on Thursday, May 26, for the Riverbank High School graduation ceremonies. In addition to the grandstand, spectators were seated in bleachers added on the track surface, along with more chairs installed next to student seating. The seating was exactly opposite from the 2021 ceremonies, where parents and audience sat in chairs on the grass field, facing into the sun to see their graduates, six-foot socially distanced on the grandstand. Ric McGinnis/The News