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Calla High graduates Class of 10
Calla High graduates get the signal to file into the Place of Refuge to start commencement exercises. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Brandon Anderson wasn’t afraid to admit his initial fears of attending Calla High.

He heard horror stories of the continuation education site of the Manteca Unified School District.

But after a few weeks, Anderson, a junior and early graduate, soon discovered otherwise.

“We became friends – we all know each other – and now we’re one big family,” he said.

Kathy Crouse, Calla’s first-year principal, was also proud to be part of that family.

“I have the most caring and nurturing staff,” she said. “They’re interested in helping students reach their goal.”

In all, over 90 seniors achieved that goal, receiving their diploma before family, friends, and special guests at the First Assembly of God called the Place of Refuge.

Claudia Velazquez was another student speaker at graduation.

“We didn’t drop out,” she said, thanking her teachers for their support during her time at Calla.

Leanna Bejarano shared memories of her year and a half at the continuation school. “I’ll remember the boys playing basketball in the school yard and always pulling up their pants,” she said.

Bejarano also recognized her instructors.

“The teachers made an impact on our lives,” she added.

Students also received awards and scholarships. Included were the following:

• Social Science staff award – Xubella Hernandez

• Art staff award
– Cristal Perez

• Mathematics staff award
– Vantharie “Carol” Chhoyeng

• Physical Education staff award – Brandon Holbrook Schultz

• English staff award – Michel’le Young

• Science staff award – Xubella Hernandez

• Spirit staff awards – Travis Schultz, Joshua Aspelin

• Social Science scholarship – Xubella Hernandez

• English scholarship – Cristal Perez

• Science scholarship – Joshua Aspelin

• Math scholarship – Vantharie “Carol” Chhoyeng

• Art scholarship – Samuel McQuinn, Brandon Valite

• “Overcoming Adversity” scholarships – Jessey Bello, Lyndsee Bell

• Manteca Federated Women’s Club – Travis Schultz, Campbell Oldes

• Jeff  Gonsalves Memorial Scholarship – Amy Fennelly

• Manteca  Lions Club – Diana Lozano Beltran

• Manteca Morning Rotary
– Claudia Velazquez, Campbell Oldes

• Manteca Sunrise Kiwanis – Xubella Hernandez, Drake VanMorrison

• Manteca Rotary – Campbell Oldes

The Calla graduation was the first of many at Manteca Unified. Next week, the district will be busy with eighth-grade promotion exercises along with Manteca High, Sierra High, East Union High and Weston Ranch High.

For more information, call the school district at 209-825-3200.