By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Joshua Cowell, Nile Garden graduate students
Nile Garden School eighth-grader John Machado, the recipient of nine awards including several for academic excellence, is flanked by his grandparents, from left: Joe Rosa and wife Rose, and Mabel Machado. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

Promotion Day at Joshua Cowell School on Tuesday was memorable for the eighth-graders in more ways than one.

In the morning, their school was featured on a television station in Sacramento. At 5 p.m., they marched to the tune of the Olympic Fanfare in the spacious courtyard that was dedicated to healthy living just two weeks ago. That’s when the judges of First Lady Michelle Obama’s healthy living recipe contest came to the school to watch the cooking demonstration featuring the Cougars’ entry which was chosen as one of the 15 finalists out of more than 300 recipes entered from all over the country. That was also the day the two pillars of peace planted in the courtyard were unveiled with the message, “May Peace Prevail in the World,” written in eight different languages on each side of the square poles.

Manteca Unified School District Superintendent Jason Messer was on hand to officially declare the promotion of the 66 eighth graders to the next step in their education as freshmen in high school. Joining the superintendent as guests of honor were Board of Trustees President Michael Seelye and Trustee Don Scholl.

Sealy McAdams, a 4.0 student who delivered the welcome address, summed up the significance of the day’s events when she said, “This is the beginning of a new chapter of our lives.”

Classmate Jacqueline Paneda, also an honor student, followed up that sentiment with a solo rendition of the song, “One Step at a Time.” The upbeat song prompted her classmates, as well as the guests and members of the audience to spontaneously clap their hands in unison.

The program’s sentimental element was enhanced by the “class memories” shared by selected members of the graduating class who recalled special fond memories of their school days at Joshua Cowell that they will always remember.

Nile Garden School

Amid cool breezes and the muted colors of twilight, 65 Nile Garden School eighth graders received their diplomas and walked down the center aisle in the courtyard to the cheers of families and friends who met them with bouquets of flowers, colorful balloons, and flashing digital cameras to record the special moments.

Manteca Unified School District Board of Trustees Nancy Teicheira and Wendy King were the special guests at the promotion ceremonies Tuesday evening.

The evening started with the students being promoted marching to the traditional Pomp and Circumstance tune. Later during the program, the students in green and white gowns, the Panther Pride’s official colors, were serenaded by the school band and choir with music that included “Don’t Stop Believin’” which served as the theme of the evening, and band’s selection of “Blue Mountain Legend.”

Class speakers were Olivia Higby whose speech was titled, “Look How Far We’ve Come,” and by Alona Beasley who spoke about “Preparing for the Future.”

Certificates of promotion were handed out by Nile Garden School Principal Deborah A. Noceti and faculty member Heidi Nielson, second- and third-grade teacher.

Eighth-grade class members Megan DeGroot and Madison English gave the concluding remarks.