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Brock Elliott graduates 98 at Sierra High
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Widmer grads (from left)Valerie Westover, Brittany Young, and Cristina Amezcua share a moment together prior to the commencement exercises. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT
The 98 graduates making up the Class of 2009 at Brock Elliott School received their diplomas Tuesday evening under the watchful eyes of the Timberwolves, Sierra High School’s mascot.

The gigantic murals on the walls inside Sierra High’s gym served as the fitting backdrop for the eighth graduation ceremonies. After all, come August, this will soon be their milieu as they embarked on the next level of their education.

Family and friends of the graduates filled the bleachers inside the gym, with many of them dutifully chronicling the momentous occasion for their loved ones with flashing digital cameras, telescopic DSLR camera lenses and video camcorders of all brands and sizes.

Serenading the graduates and guests were graduates Nicole Moreno, Tirney Pereira and Arianna Valdez who gave a harmonized karaoke-accompanied rendition of “What a Wonderful World” popularized by Duke Ellington, and members of the Brock Elliott’s 6th- to 8th-grade band with the musical number, “Equinox” conducted by school band director Melissa Krueger.

The traditional graduating-class slide show was presented by graduates Liana Bassett, Ashley Bettencourt, logan Sanders, Rayna Willenbrink, along with their advisor, Jeff Caligiuri. The graduating students’ speaker was Jai Makana Ward.

Doing the honors of presenting the diplomas to the graduates were Manteca Unified School District Superintendent Jason Messer and Board of Trustee Nancy Teicheira along with school Principal Debbie  Ruger.

New Haven Elementary
The Class of 2009 has officially become the class of 2013 – making the big step up the monumental world of High School.

Dozens of students from New Haven Elementary crossed the podium Tuesday afternoon to receive their certificates that signified that they had completed all of the necessary requirements to advance to the next level.

And the mood inside of Crossroads Grace Community Church couldn’t have been more upbeat.

After an introduction by Jonah Ledesma, student speaker Ana Ceja welcomed those in attendance and reminded those who will be progressing on about the memories they’ve made and the friendships that they’ll cherish even as they grow into new individuals.

Chad Agostini hit on some of the same notes before Principal David O’Leary presented the class to board of education trustee Vern Gebhardt for acceptance. Gebhardt handed out the diplomas to the dozens of graduates who did everything from wave to family to saunter slyly off stage celebrating their achievement.

Walter Woodward Elementary
The combination of Shannon Beattie and the Woodward Band set the tone for the “Pomp and Circumstance” processional as the Woodward Elementary Class of 2009 made their way into the courtyard of their brand new school.

And the Woodward Choir kept everyone on their toes with their rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” that only helped raise the school spirit that was abundance among graduates.

When it came time for 8th grade speeches, there was no shortage of students that wanted to share their stories and their insight. Over the course of three sections, eight students – Darryl Asuncion, Navnit

Bains, Sidney Foreman, Nasima Afzal, Nicole Brown, Adaeze Nkwocha, Jessica Munoz, and Benjamin Tolman – all shared their best experiences at Woodward and offered advice to those progressing on to the next level.

Director of Elementary Education John McKillip presented the certificates to the graduates, while the Woodward Bank recited the recessional to conclude the evening.

Lincoln Elementary School
The Olympic Fanfare and Theme welcomed the Lincoln Elementary Class of 2009 to their annual promotion ceremony, where Principal Cheryl Spiegel welcomed those in attendance and set the tone for an evening of celebration.

With Brooke Mejorado leading the packed house in the Pledge of Allegiance, it would former Manteca Idol and Lincoln student Cheyenne Milligan who delivered the National Anthem.

Majored – the Student Class President – delivered a speech entitled “My Lincoln Years” while Student Body Secretary Caitlyn Leppere talked about “Memories.”

But it would be the students who would put a spin on the traditional ceremony.

Eighth graders turned the tables when they awarded teachers Justin Dalzell and Elani Freeman with “Teacher of the Year” awards.

Mikayla Hasal spoke openly about what the students have to look forward to with her presentation of “The Future,” and the tandem of Kaila Hunt and Anna Arriola talked about “Our Lincoln Experience.”

Lauren Herrington rounded out the student speakers with her presentation of “The Importance of Education.”