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RHS Graduates Reminisce
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Salutatorian Megan Larson and valedictorians Courtney Floyd, Cassandra Gilbert and Jamel Lehyan brought a mixture of inspirational words and comic memories to their speeches at Riverbank High's graduation ceremonies on Thursday.

"Writing this speech was incredibly hard because how do you put all the amazing times we had into a short speech," began Larson. "Most of us have been together since middle school, some even elementary. The memories we have shared are unforgettable and the friendships irreplaceable, Riverbank isn't just a school but more like a big family.

"High school has taught me that nothing is set in stone. So it's important to live in the moment and to cherish the time you spend with those you love. Don't hold grudges nor stay angry, but instead love as if you've never been hurt. Don't waste time dwelling on the past, but dive into the future. As hard as goodbyes are, it's only the hello to a new beginning."

"Audrey Hepburn once said "nothing is impossible, the word itself says I'm possible," Floyd told her audience. "I like to think of this as the Class of Impossible. No one believed the football team would win more than one game, but they did. No one believed the basketball team would reach the semi-finals, but they did. No one believed the school's 4 by 1 record would be broken, but it was.

"No one believed we would raise our test scores by more than a few points, but we did," she continued. "All of those seemed impossible, but we accomplished all of that and more. If there's one thing I will never forget about senior year, it's that the impossible was suddenly possible and we paved the way for our underclassmen to succeed and surpass our accomplishments and achieve their own impossibles. So underclassmen, I present you with this challenge; can you beat the Class of 2012? Achieve the impossible...."

"I came to Riverbank one month into my freshman year transferring from Modesto High," said Gilbert when it came her turn to speak. "Being the new girl in high school, I thought that just like all the other schools I attended I would be totally ignored and treated as an outcast because everyone else already had joined their cliques and special groups and there would be no room for a new, shy girl like me.

"Much to my surprise, here at Riverbank High, it seemed like from the first day I arrived, everyone came to me and welcomed me to my new school. I was in complete amazement because at Modesto High, unless you already belonged to a certain group, you were destined to be alone and always treated as an outsider ... Throughout the next four years, I found my early experiences were true to all of Riverbank High. Throughout my high school career, I realized there were no distinct differences that shielded one group from another, no class separations and no educational boundaries...

"Our special memories will last a lifetime," Gilbert added. "Whether it was our sitting on the floor of the old gym during rallies in freshman year (there was no room on the benches for freshmen), the guy cheerleaders performing at the powder puff football game in my sophomore year, or Mr. Bartlett 'doing the worm' at our last rally."

Lehyan was the only male student speaker and recalled not only festivities like Grad Nite but a topic dear to his athlete's heart, the football season.

"Grad Nite will be a memory most of us will cherish forever," he said. "Not only did we have the opportunity to be in the happiest place in the world but we got to experience this unforgettable moment with the ones that had been through this journey with us since its beginning. After undergoing all the hectic roller coaster rides, pictures, fist pumping, crowd surfing and dancing that night, we all have created memories we will never forget.

"Another experience I will never forget is the 2011-2012 varsity football season," he added. "This season was so memorable not only because most of our players won their first varsity football game or because we changed the whole football program at Riverbank High but it was because we players came together as a family and learned anything is possible when we play our hardest and watch over each other...

"All the practices, all the days in the weight room, all the bus rides to away games, all the nights at Pizza Plus after our home games and all the games under the Friday night lights gave us an opportunity to come together as a family and create memories that will last a lifetime."