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Vigil, Flores Take Top Honors For 2022 Class
Valedictorian Christian Vigil

This week Riverbank Unified School District will have several graduations and promotions going on as students move on to the next grade and others a new path all together. As for Riverbank High School Valedictorian, Christian Vigil and Salutatorian Itzel Calderon Flores, their path after high school will take them to higher education.

The Riverbank High School class of 2022 will take their final walk as high schoolers at the graduation ceremony on Thursday, May 26 at 7:30 p.m., outdoors at the Angelo Novi Stadium on campus.

Adelante High School will have their graduation ceremony at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25 in the Ray Fauria Gym.

Cardozo Middle School will have their Eighth Grade Promotion Ceremony outdoors at the Angelo Novi Stadium on Wednesday, May 25 at 7:30 p.m.

“To me it feels rewarding to be recognized as Valedictorian,” said Vigil. “The fact that my hard work in school is being recognized by everyone made it that much more worth all the time I put into my education.”

“I honestly did not expect it,” stated Flores about receiving the Salutatorian honor. “I was surprised when I got called up for it. It was a shock at first to be honest, but as I let it sink in, I was so happy. I couldn’t believe that all my hard work had paid off. What turned to happiness is now excitement; I know that this is an honor and I hope that I don’t let anyone down.”

Both Vigil and Flores will be recognized at the graduation ceremony for their honors and will give a speech to the audience.

“In regards to my speech, I have started writing it, and I already have a clear idea about what I am going to say,” expressed Flores. “It was difficult trying to write it because I want my words to have a positive effect on my classmates. Finding the correct words that would motivate them has been hard; I am trying to get them to think about how graduation is a huge deal that we should be grateful for. I don’t want my words to enter one ear and come out of the other. I want an impact.”

Vigil shared that he was feeling nervous and some pressure on delivering his speech to the entire senior class.

“My parents and my girlfriend have been very influential towards my success at RHS,” added Vigil. “Their work ethic and their determination has rubbed off on me and has led me to really try in school and to push myself to take the extra step towards preparing myself for college.”

He spent his high school career playing basketball and during his senior year was part of the Stem Club, National Honors Society and CSF.

“One of my most memorable highlights from high school is being part of the basketball team,” remarked Vigil. “Besides the sport, the people and the coaches there were family to me and they made the whole experience that much more fun. The fact that I was with the same people every year allowed me to become more connected with the people there.”

Flores spent her high school career taking advanced classes and trying to get the best grades.

“I would say that the most influential person that I have known is Mrs. Flores, the Spanish teacher,” noted Flores. “I had her for all my four years. Each year, she would always give me the correct amount of motivation and words that I needed to try hard in every class. She even had something to do when it came to me choosing what college to go to after graduation. Also, I didn’t just learn school material from her; I learned things that would help me in my everyday life.”

A highlight for Flores was returning to the RHS campus for in person learning after COVID hit and they had to transition to distance learning online.

She said, “Friendships became stronger and anxiety was reduced. Another highlight is entering my senior year. It wasn’t until this year that I learned all the important things in life and I feel like I matured from it. It changed my perspective of how life works; sometimes there’s immediate success and sometimes you have to overcome the impossible and keep trying until you reach a goal. Also, I felt more confident than ever.”

Flores plans on attending Stanislaus State University in Turlock where she will major in Psychology as she has a great interest in helping people with their mental health.

Vigil plans on attending UC Merced to pursue a Mechanical Engineering Degree.

When asked what they will miss the most after high school, Vigil said teachers and friends and Flores concurred adding that most of her friends are going to different colleges and she will miss spending time with them.

“My advice to the other students is to not give up,” relayed Flores to the senior class. “If they have a goal that they want to reach, it is better to start early. It is never good to wait until the last minute to do the things one desires because by then, it will be late.”

The advice that Vigil offers the class of 2022 is to, “experience everything because life only happens once. Live life with zero regrets but with many memories and good times.”

Salutatorian Itzel Calderon Flores