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Riverbank Bids Farewell To Class Of 2010
Remarks on Riverbank High's Class of 2010 by Principal Christine Facella stick in the mind long after students more formal addresses at Thursday's graduation ceremony.

"How about those boy cheerleaders?" Facella asked, commending the Bruins for their ability to laugh at themselves while cheering at a Powder Puff contest. She also noted their efforts on the gridiron, where many players performed admirably on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

"Was Lady Gaga really on campus?" she queried rhetorically of a rumor that the famed rock star with a devoted RHS promoter and fan briefly visited the school incognito.

Among the year's achievements, Facella noted student creation of the Interact Club, inauguration of the new Ray Fauria Memorial Gym with the first basketball games and a senior trip and prom that went off without a hitch or a single word of criticism.

"You should be proud that you were such fine ambassadors for the school and still had a good time," she told members of the graduating class. "Let me advise you to cultivate your character rather than your reputation. Your character is what you are. Your reputation is only what others think about you.

"Reach for the stars. But keep your feet on the ground," she concluded before formally presenting the Class of 2010 for acceptance by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ken Geisick on behalf of the Riverbank Unified School District.

Valedictorians Cynthia Diaz and Stephanie Romero and salutatorian Jessica McDonald addressed students in an earlier speech.

"Remember the first rally when we were all excited to be here," they began. "I remember having to sit on the floor, while the upper classmen enjoyed the view from the bleachers. But that didn't matter to us because we had more spirit than anyone else ..."

Most of the graduates have experienced hardships, either alone, or with friends but somehow made it through, they continued. Not only did they come out alive but came out stronger and wiser. Through the challenges, they developed values that are now the heart of their strength and inner selves.

"So as you walk across this stage to receive your diploma, don't feel sad because you are leaving. Be thankful that you were here. Realize that Riverbank High School was your home for the past four years and will always have a special place in your heart."

The valedictorians urged graduates to "take with you the memories you've made here, along with the lessons you've been taught, not only by your teachers, but by your peers as well."

They also were left with the thought: "Once a Bruin, always a Bruin."

Valedictorians Maria Del Carmen Pantoja and Natalia Guadalupe Herrera offered the farewell address later in the ceremony.

"We can all agree," they said at one point," that every individual here leaves with some experience, some memory, some word of advice, some reminder of the work they endured and the things they have accomplished, regardless of how many of us say we want to leave and get away. We all leave with something and that something will influence the way we lead our lives ..."

Among other features of the ceremony that packed the Fauria Gym to capacity, ASB President Monica Mendoza led the pledge to the flag, Senior Class President Jordan Blevins issued the welcome and board trustees handed out the diplomas.