By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Neil Hafley shows what classmates are about
Neil Hafleys graduating students get one last minute to offer congratulations before the formal part of the ceremony begins. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL

What’s the point of having friends if they can’t be there to support you?

While it’s usually a speech or a rehearsed poem that summarizes the meaning of friendship or how a graduating class will always perform better together as one, the 8th grade class at Neil Halfley Elementary School showed that practical application trumps all of the rest. 

There was one of their own – Nadiyah Dowling – that struggled towards the end of singing “The Star Spangled Banner” under what one would have to assume would be a set of pressures above and beyond anything the young girl has faced. 

She wasn’t ridiculed. Even as she choked back tears when she was unable to hit the high note at the end, her classmates cheered for her and she was welcomed back with open arms. 

It wasn’t the way she would have wanted it to go down. But it showed not only her resiliency to push through but the bond that she and her classmates share – something that couldn’t have been quite summarized in an obscure quote. 

Kiara Presley set the table of accomplishments for those who promote on with her speech “We Made It” and Cathy Brown followed it up “Years Passing” which spoke of the clock that spins all too quickly as it gets further and further away from our earliest memories. 

Manteca Unified Trustee Debra Romero accepted the class from Lori Guzman-Alvarez. 

Marleny Hernandez offered her classmates advice as they each prepare to take the next step in their collective lives – most of whom will go on to East Union next year while Angel Volk summarized her hopes in Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance.”