Graduation ceremonies took place in the Oakdale Joint Unified School District this year over the course of three days, and the weather wasn’t entirely cooperative.
While Oakdale High School graduates had clear and sunny skies on Friday, May 28, there was a steady wind that blew through the OHS stadium that became chillier as the students crossed the stage to receive their diplomas. The Oakdale Junior High School graduates and their supportive families and friends braved the rain as it came down steadily in the OHS stadium the night before on May 27.
The alternative education graduation was held Wednesday, May 26 inside the OHS gymnasium. The venue worked out well, as rain started to fall just prior to the ceremony and was coming down steadily by the time it ended.
On Friday night, there were approximately 330 OHS graduates that walked into the stadium to Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance played by the OHS band, led by director Allison Davis. OHS senior class president Nichole Kupper and student body vice president Tierney Seidel delivered the brief welcome address. Kristin Mello led the Pledge of Allegiance and Desiree Juanes performed a Super Bowl-worthy rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
Seniors in the OHS choir sang “We Are The World” and nearing the end of their performance the P.A. system failed, so they took to their seats. While the technical difficulties were being worked out, the crowd became a little restless, but the graduates rallied each other by doing “the wave,” which brought cheers from the stands. Still the system remained quiet, but the graduates kept the momentum of the evening going when a few of them spurred first the visitor’s side and then the home side of the stadium to do “the wave” as well. It was then that the P.A. system was fixed and began working again without further delay.
Michael Homer delivered his Salutatorian’s address, where he told his peers that graduation was not a sad passage, but a welcome opportunity for something new. His speech was followed by the Four Year Review by Nichole Kupper, Robert Stout, and Mike Mora. Valedictorians Korrine Baxter and Garrett Martin shared a humorous speech to their classmates about high school and moving on. Principal Michael Moore then presented the class of 2010 to district Superintendent Fred Rich, followed by the presentation of diplomas.
The OHS band performed the Alma Mater and Kyle Derby and Aaron Ziebell delivered the Farewell.
There were more than 335 OJHS graduates on what turned out to be a very wet Thursday evening.
Junior High principal John Simons welcomed the crowd and let them know they would try to get through the ceremony “as quickly as possible” to get everyone in out of the rain. He added that officials were keeping an eye on the radar maps throughout the day and the rain hit sooner than models indicated. But, he said, it was moving the ceremony inside and barring more than half the crowd from attending or braving the elements and let everyone stay.
With multiple umbrellas in use, the crowd cheered wildly for the graduates, who had a graduation to remember as they received congratulations from school board members amid the raindrops.
“We all have grown so much,” class vice president Haley Munns said in providing the junior high review. “All the people at the school have been there for each and every one of us from day one.”
Class president Tanner Morgan added that the class is proud to move forward as one to their next adventure.
“High school is going to be the time of our lives if we make it be, and I believe we can,” he said. “We are all proud tonight to rise up as Mustangs.”
The alternative education ceremony hosted 26 graduates from East Stanislaus High School, 48 graduates from Valley Oak High School, and 21 graduates from Oakdale Charter High School.
Oakdale optometrist Dr. Douglas Patten was the keynote speaker for the evening. He talked about land mines that exist. He compared the explosive devices buried in fields in parts of Europe and Asia to unmarked traps in life that can curtail or even ruin plans for a happy, prosperous life. His advice to the students was to go around them or avoid them altogether. He identified three types of specific “land mines” in life and how the students could avoid them.
There was also a presentation of achievement awards to some students. The California Department of Education Honors were for Presidential Silver Awards and Gold Awards. There were also scholarships awarded from the Oakdale Board of Realtors, the Oakdale Cowboy Museum, and Oakdale Sunrise Rotary.
Leader Editor Marg Jackson contributed to this story.