LATHROP – It was a historical first for Lathrop on Friday as the community celebrated the first students to earn high school diplomas without leaving town.
Lathrop High’s first-ever graduating class was ushered into their next stage of life during a ceremony on the Lathrop High football field.
Student Body President Jaime Flores led the gathering in the Pledge of Allegiance as well as the Star Spangled Banner before turning the microphone over to Lathrop High Principal David Chamberlain.
Chamberlain strolled through the brief history of Lathrop High and reiterated how pleased he was in the fact that the graduating class left established high school campuses in Manteca and Weston Ranch to “establish their own culture” as part of the black-and-gold Spartans.
Student Body President Priscilla Rodriguez and Emilio Perez offered speeches filled with reflection and appreciation of their time as the founding class of Lathrop High.
Valedictorian Jorvic Ramos and salutatorian Justin Fernandez both shined with speeches balancing comedy and reality.
Ramos will continue his education at the University of California at Davis, fulfilling an aspiration that he had stepping onto the Lathrop campus just three years ago.
“It was always my desire to be this school’s first-ever valedictorian,” Ramos admitted. “I’ve been so close ever since elementary school and this really has been a great honor.”
Ramos and Fernandez relished in their moment, sharing a heartfelt hug after their speeches in the midst of a standing ovation. The pair has shared a great deal throughout the past few years, making their accomplishments all the more special.
“It is so very rare that you find kids that are so much a part of your life,” both graduates’ advanced-placement biology teacher Shannon Easter said. “They are so much a part of your professional experience that they stitch themselves permanently into your heart. Those kids are definitely a part of my heart.”
The success of Lathrop’s first graduation is a testament to Vice Principal William Pinol and all who were in assistance.
“We started our planning sessions in February,” Pinol said. “We began getting information together, and we’ve had three full-blown meetings to start putting stuff together. It takes probably three, or four hundred hours to put something like this together.”
Counselor Linda Wheeler and Irene Munguia of the administrative staff announced each graduate.