Over 300 seniors at East Union High received their diplomas Thursday at Dino Cunial Field.
They were applauded for their efforts of the past four years by family, friends, teachers and special guests who filled the grandstands on this rather breezy special evening.
For some, this day was the reward for the sacrifices made over the years in pursuit of a dream.
“When I was 13, I wanted to be valedictorian,” said Christopher Scogna, who did so by taking every Advanced Placement class for the exception of history.
Scogna earned the top academic honor by maintaining his focus on the prize.
Salutatorian Cassandra Waggy also had a dream. She wanted to attend the academically prestigious Stanford University and play softball for the national power Cardinal.
But those plans were altered once she learned that she would have to try out as a walk-on at Stanford due to budget cuts.
Waggy, instead, opted for Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA., signing a national letter-of-intent to play softball.
“Life is about adjustment, and not just in the batter’s box,” she said. “I’m happy to be heading to Pennsylvania in the fall.”
Morgan Hulsebosch was this year’s guest student speaker, earning that honor by beating out her fellow classmates in an American Idol-style audition.
She offered essential keys for success to the Class of 2011.
“It doesn’t matter where you start but, rather, how you finish,” Hulsebosch said. “Achievements are more satisfying after failed attempts.
“Persevere in something you like to do.”
She pointed out that Theodor Geisel, who was better known as the beloved children’s book author Dr. Seuss, persevered for many years to have his first book published.
Hulsebosch also borrowed a few words from Dr. Seuss in closing.
“Oh, the places you’ll go,” she said to her classmates on the future.
The commencement exercises at East Union also served as a sendoff for councilor Steve Droullard, who, earlier in the week, announced $1.7 million in scholarships awarded to members of the graduating class.
He’s retiring after 25 years at the school.
“You cared for everyone as if they were your own,” said student body President Taylor Maruca of Droullard. “You will be truly missed at East Union High.”
In addition, senior class President Alexis Martinez welcomed those in attendance while class officers Teejay Gordon (treasurer) and Cherrise Martin (secretary) led in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Amy Montes performed the Star-Spangled Banner, with the Lancer Battalion providing the colors and the East Union band under the direction of Terry Silveira playing the traditional graduation tune, “Pomp and Circumstance.”