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OJUSD Awards Diplomas To Graduates At All Levels
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Sharing a friendship which spans the length of their educational career, left to right: Kyndall Vargas, Kyla Novotny and Madison Abell shortly after receiving their high school diplomas. The three will now continue on to separate colleges as Vargas travels to Chico, Novotny to Cal Poly and Abell to Fresno State this coming fall. Teresa Hammond/ The Leader

It was three packed days for students, families and administrators as Oakdale Joint Unified School District hosted graduations for Oakdale Charter School, East Stanislaus High, Oakdale Junior High and Oakdale High School during the past week. All but Oakdale Charter were hosted at Oakdale High School.

Oakdale Charter led the three-day celebration with a ceremony hosted at Magnolia Elementary Auditorium. A total of 22 students (five eighth grade, 17 12th grade students) were acknowledged for their efforts and accomplishments.

Guest speaker Nathan Rien, Professor and Athletic Director of Columbia College, shared words of perseverance and triumph with graduates, as he encouraged them to pursue their dreams relentlessly.

On Thursday evening over 370 Oakdale Junior High Rams stepped into the Corral as eighth graders and left as high school freshmen.

“May your experience and education from Oakdale Junior High help make you a positive impact in Oakdale High School and beyond,” OJHS Principal Jon Webb said to the graduates.

Class President Leilani Roper echoed Webb’s sentiments, sharing a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their greatness,” she said. “Let’s continue to turn our can’ts into can’s and dreams into plans.”

Associated Student Body President Tyler Brown preceded Roper in addressing the eighth grade student body with an honest perspective regarding the growth of the class during the past two years.

“We will be the most prepared, successful, incoming freshman class Oakdale High has ever known,” Brown stated. “Due to the hard work and dedication we put forth at the Junior High School.”

Hard work and dedication, along with community support were key topics of the Oakdale High School graduates who followed Friday night. Over 340 students filled the field surrounded by a standing room only crowd at the Corral.

High school graduation speakers included: Megan Eaton, Student Body President; Sophie Hill, Senior Class President; Maddy Brewer, Senior Class Treasurer, as well as Elizabeth White, Valedictorian and Taryn Lane, Salutatorian.

“Graduation is certainly not the Class of 2017’s peak,” Eaton said at the start of the ceremony. “We will all move on to bigger and better things.”

The Student Body President offered kudos to the community noting a well-known Oakdale mantra as telling of the success that results from Oakdale schools.

“Whether it’s on the field or in the classroom you’ve all shown what you can do for a high school and a town,” she said to her classmates. “Now it’s time to show what you can do for the rest of the world.”

Senior Class President Sophie Hill shared her fondness of the staff, community and fellow classmates for the sense of inclusion she herself experienced as someone new to the community. The speaker shared an experience which included six varying campuses during her educational career.

“There’s nothing like this community,” Hill stated. “This town comes together like no other town I’ve lived in and we have a unique way of supporting each other while still honoring who we are. We persevere. We’re tenacious. We don’t give up.”

At the conclusion of all speeches, OHS Principal Mike Moore presented the Class of 2017 to Superintendent Marc Malone certifying the graduates had completed all requirements. Diplomas were then awarded to each student by OJUSD School Board members.


After the tassels were moved, the caps went flying and family and friends swarmed the graduates to offer hugs, congratulations and get the photo taking underway. Many members of the Class of 2017 moved on later to enjoy the Sober Grad Night festivities hosted at Sierra View Elementary School.