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Eighth Graders Mark Milestone
Soon-to-be graduate Milan Latanzio gets animated as classmate Emily Hudson concludes the singing of the National Anthem. - photo by Marg Jackson/The Leader


A sure sign of stepping into young adulthood, the nearly 350 Oakdale Junior High School eighth grade graduates received their diplomas and crossed that threshold into high school. They will be freshmen at OHS in August and celebrated the closing chapter of junior high in front of family and friends at a packed Corral on Thursday night, May 23.

With classmate Emily Hudson belting out the National Anthem to thunderous applause, the class then joined in the Pledge of Allegiance with class vice president and secretary, Alberto Martinez and Kyla Novotny.

OJHS Principal John Simons offered welcoming remarks to the crowd and the assembled graduates with Rally Commissioner Haley Takaki then taking to the podium to deliver the class review.

“Some crazy experiences these last two years,” she said, noting that they joined together for academic contests, sporting events, class trips and more.

“We worked hard to be all we can be,” she said. “Great job and congratulations, Class of 2013.”

Student Body President Isabella Cobarruvias was confident as she gathered her notes to offer the graduation class address.

“Four score and … oh, wait,” she said, shuffling papers on the podium. “We the people … no, that’s not it…”

After relaxing the crowd with the more famous speech introductions, the soon-to-be graduate looked back on the two years gone by.

“We see mistakes and things we’d change,” she admitted. “Our struggles and successes are what defines us in the end. You have to make and learn from your mistakes to be successful.”

Class treasurer Esteban Villasenor offered the class gift, new bleachers for the track, and vice principal Jon Webb accepted on behalf of the school.

Principal Simons then presented the class to OJUSD Superintendent Marc Malone, who accepted them for graduation. Board members William Dyer, Diane Gilbert, Mike House, Tina Shatswell and student member Madison Lane presented the diplomas as Stephanie Robinson and Gillian Wegener read the names of the graduates, many earning various school and CJSF honors for their achievements in junior high.