Students at Calla High were grateful for the special attention they received over the years from teachers, staff and even administrators.
Some even considered Kathy Crouse their friend.
The second-year principal of Manteca Unified’s continuation high school recognized 129 students at Friday’s graduation ceremony at Sierra High gymnasium, crediting 13 reasons.
That’s the number of teachers at Calla who helped make this major milestone possible.
“This is a caring and nurturing staff,” Crouse added.
The Class of 2011 was the largest ever at Calla High.
Added student speaker Andrea Anderson: “The teachers are doing something right.”
She and others – included were fellow student speakers Marina Soto, Schannel Valdez and Amanda Nelson – heard horror stories about the school.
Maria Zuniga was also a student speaker.
They initially feared the worse during that time in their life when the continuation site became their educational option. Instead, their experience here proved just the opposite.
“Thanks, Calla, you showed us our imperfection – we learned that it was OK to ask for help,” Valdez said.
Crouse, in turn, was proud of her graduates.
“I’ve seen each of you make tremendous growth,” she said. “You came in scared and timid but you worked hard and showed that you can accomplish any goal.”
Balmore Hernandez, for one, already has plans in place for his future. He was the recipient of several scholarships, including, I Believe in Me, Manteca Federated Club, and Manteca Rotary Club.
Hernandez will attend Delta College to study media art and music.
Meanwhile, the candidates for graduation filed into the gymnasium with the traditional playing of “Pomp and Circumstance” as performed by the Sierra High Jazz Band under the direction of Rick Hammarstrom.
Crouse led in the Pledge of Allegiance – the Class of 2011 later did another salute to the flag behind Bradley Madison’s Jimi Hendrix-inspired performance of the Stars Spangled Banner – and welcomed parents, family, friends and guests to the special occasion.
She later had the honors of announcing that these students had fulfilled their classroom obligations and had earned their high school diplomas.
“This is just the first step,” said counselor Pat Seal. “I hope to hear that most of you will continue to go to school.”