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Park View graduates first class
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Park View Elementary Schools first graduating class listens intently to their class speaker Jeff Scholl who had been their fourth grade teacher. Seated at left are Principal Mona Ogden, school board president Mike Fisher and Superintendent Louise Nan Johnson. - photo by GLENN KAHL

RIPON — Park View Elementary School in Ripon graduated its first eighth grade class Tuesday night – leaders since the school opened its doors when they were the oldest students as third graders, principal Mona Ogden mused as she thought back to her school’s opening day.

“They have been the ‘first’ all the way through, and they have embraced their role as leaders,” she said of her 29 students receiving diplomas that sent them on to high school that she described as their new adventure in education.

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail,” she told her graduates who she said exemplify leadership with tenacity, imagination and spunk.

The principal said she learned early on that when the students in her eighth grade get one of their ideas, it is pretty difficult to hold them back. Ogden said she also learned that their ideas were indeed great and they followed through on what they started – with her coming to rely on each of them individually as a leader.

“The trail they have left us includes an awesome student council that focuses on community service projects, a state of the art computer lab, peer helpers, a student store, Fish Philosophy and a sports program.

With such a small group of students, it meant that pretty much everyone was involved in most everything. She said she feared they would burn out but admitted that she found that their energies were boundless.

The students went on their eighth grade trip to San Francisco seeing Alcatraz, Pier 39, and to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum and to the Rain Forest Café for dinner.

Presenting the coveted Trustee Award to five top students with near perfect grades were school board president Michael Fischer and district superintendent Louise Nan Johnson. Students receiving the awards were Shelley Agostini, Victoria Cabello, Melanie Reynoso, Darian VanDerMaaten and Brody Reeves.

The citizenship awards presented by the principal went to Victoria Cabello and Skyler Cendana.