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Manteca High Class of 2010 graduates 245
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Graduates, from left, Davina Bennett, Chellsee Lee, and Rileigh Mankin gesture towards family and friends in the stands. - photo by HIME ROMERO
The memo about being done with high school after Friday’s graduation ceremony apparently never circulated the halls of Manteca High.

After the 245 graduates had turned their tassels at Guss Schmeidt Field and formally ended another chapter of their lives, almost none of the graduates seemed to be headed anywhere – navigating the sea of family and friends to seek out their fellow classmates for what might be their last conversation before parting ways.

It was a moment of triumph for most, and a moment of emotion for some.

“I’m going to miss all of my friends and the teachers that I’ve gotten to know while I was here,” said graduate Rion Patterson. “It has crazy emotional thinking about everything right now. I’m going to miss those who that I was close to, but at the same time I’m excited about the future.”

Thousands of people filled the stands at Guss Schmeidt Friday to pay tribute to those who fulfilled the necessary graduation requirements that allowed them to participate in the ceremony at Manteca High School – including former graduates, proud parents, and relatives that vocally showed their support for not only the individual graduates but the formal ceremony itself.

That meant early classes, homework, extended testing, and the high school exit exam.

After four years of hard work, Valedictorian Bhanupreet Gill relished in the spotlight when addressing her fellow graduates in an untitled speech that focused just as much on the long road it took to get to Friday’s ceremony as it did the unopened doors that lie ahead.

“I wanted to talk about looking at where we came from and where we still have to go,” Gill said of her speech. “I’m definitely going to miss my friends when I leave here, but also the dedicated teachers that go above and beyond to make sure that we’re all able to be here today.”

Salutatorian Rebecca Culpepper also gave an address to the Manteca High graduating class of 2010.

While the week provided a scare in terms of weather for an outdoor ceremony – even prompting East Union to come up with multiple scenarios in case of lightning during their ceremony Thursday night – the balmy Friday weather allowed most to don short sleeve shirts at the start of the early evening ceremony.

Students entered the stadium to the Manteca High School band’s rendition of “Pomp and Circumstance” under the direction of band leader Anthony Dahl.

Superintendent Jason Messer was on hand to formally accept the class.