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Principal Cook, Class of 2009 say farewell to Nile Garden
Retiring Nile Garden School Principal Joseph Cook, shown with wife LeeAnne, bids an emotional goodbye to the school during graduation ceremonies Tuesday evening. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO
The 42 members of Nile Garden School’s Class of 200 a were not the only ones saying farewell to their alma mater at their graduation exercises Tuesday evening.

Their longtime principal Joseph Cook also bade goodbye not only to the south Manteca campus but also to a career spanning some three decades. The crowd gathered in the courtyard for the commencement ceremonies broke into cheers as the retiring principal and his wife, LeeAnne, walked hand in hand as they led the graduates in the recessional at the conclusion of the hour-long program. Clutched under the principal’s arm was a framed copy of his last group picture with a graduating class at Nile Garden.

Taking over his post at the helm in the fall will be Deborah Noceti who has been the school vice principal for the last seven years.

Language Arts teacher Kendra Martinsen also had a graduation of sorts Tuesday evening. At the commencement ceremonies, she saw her youngest child, Chasen, graduate from elementary.
Martinsen herself retired from teaching four years ago, but after a year in retirement, she was called back to her old post at Nile Garden.

Class speakers featured during the graduation program were Jaclyn McAllaster and Marissa Machado witih their “9 Steps Back Speech,” and Shon Silva who spoke about “The Road to Success.” Graduates Taylor Pereza and Gaby Diaz led their classmates down memory lane with their speech, “Class Review.”

The school band directed by band and chorus director Katherine Puck played “RiverCity Parade” during the program. The band also played the “Pomp and Circumstance” for the graduates’ processional and recessional.