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Lathrop Highs 1st four-year graduating class
LATHROP--Grad Pic 4a
Lathrop High School graduates show their excitement as they make their way into the stadium Thursday night the first four-year graduating class in the history of the school. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL

LATHROP – Ricky Hernandez knew how important it was to be a part of the Class of 2012.

It was, after all, the first four-year graduating class in the history of the new campus and as a result burdened with starting and instituting the traditions that will ring through the halls and banks of lockers for decades to come.

But that didn’t mean that they didn’t have a good time while laying that foundation and framework.

In a speech he delivered with Amy Thomas, the two presidents talked about the fun that the group had in the activities throughout the four years that they had together on the campus – from solidifying their rightful ownership of the “spirit stick” to getting to participate in the first official “rally” when enough students were on campus.

And then there was the first-ever football victory – a sparse occurrence ever since and something that he jabbed his helmet-wearing friends with in his speech.

But all of those moments, he surmised, helped make the memories that will stick with people regardless of where the future takes them.

“I’m honored to be a part of the class that helped set the foundation of what Lathrop High is today for what it will be tomorrow,” he said.

But the true wisdom was imparted on the class by the co-valedictorians – Megan Cai and Hargun Oberai – who shared their collective knowledge in a pair of speeches that touched on everything from facing the world on your own to Googling how to give a valedictorian’s speech.

Cai – who will embark on an Ivy League journey on a full-ride scholarship to Cornell University with ambitions of being a lawyer – urged her classmates, regardless of which road it is they’re going to take, to spread their wings and refuse to give up in the pursuit of their dreams.

“It’s time to stand on our own two feet and show the world what we’re made of,” Cai said. “Greatness only comes to those who reach for it.

“No matter what happens in the future, remember how our paths crossed here at Lathrop High and the priceless times that were had – may we remember it for years to come.”

Oberai went the comedic route.

She talked about how Google couldn’t give her the answers that she sought when looking for how to write the speech that she was in the process of delivering, and how her coach told her that coming from the heart would be the best place to start.

So that’s what she did.

The future doctor talked about how the help of teachers like Jeff Baldwin – who stayed on the phone with her during a bus ride back from Sonora the night before a Calculus final – gave her faith in her educators, and how the help of her parents helped her get where she was at that moment.

And she ended it her own way – with a quote from the movie “Hugo.”

“They say you’re supposed to end these things with quotes and I could never find one so I ended up choosing one from my favorite movie, where a boy is sitting next to this girl and he’s looking out the window and he says, “I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know.

“You, my fellow graduates, are not an extra part, and I know that you’ll succeed at whatever you put your minds to.”