Jasmine Currimao may have saved her toughest assignment for last.
As valedictorian of Sierra High’s Class of 2011, she tried to find the right tone to her speech at Friday’s commencement program.
“I didn’t want to state the obvious – ‘shoot for the moon’ or ‘today is the first day to the rest of your life,’” Currimao said.
Nor did she want to get nostalgic over the past four years.
Currimao, however, did make reference to her class – about 280 seniors received their diplomas before family, friends and guests at the nearly hour-long event held at Daniel M. Teicheira Memorial Stadium – being significantly smaller in numbers compared to that of the previous years.
Part of the reason for that was the opening of Lathrop High, cutting into Sierra’s attendance boundaries.
Those smaller numbers didn’t diminish the academic quality of the graduating class.
Larry Grimes, the school’s Science teacher, announced that 41 seniors earned the distinction of California Scholastic Federation Gold Sealbearers.
“Forty-one is also the largest number (CSF Gold Sealbearers) of any Sierra graduating class,” Grimes said.
In turn, these students, by maintaining high academic standards since their sophomore year, were recognized as lifetime members of CSF.
Added Lisa Thomas, senior class president: “Sierra, academically, had the highest API scores (among high schools) in the district.”
She looked back on the early years.
“Some of us have walked the same path since kindergarten,” Thomas said. “High school was a whole new world.”
“With it came a new mix of friends.”
Michael Pan, for one, valued those friendships.
“If you have good friends, keep them – the past is strong,” he said.
Pan was announced as salutatorian about a month ago.
“I had mixed feelings,” he confessed. “As salutatorian, I would have to give a speech.”
According to Principal Susan Pearson, graduation at Sierra High was a tradition that started 15 years ago.
That tradition consisted of the Sierra High band under the direction of Rick Hammarstrom playing the processional tune, “Pomp and Circumstance,” as members of the graduating class filed into the stadium and took their seat at midfield.
Katelyn Carbiener and Kara Hall performed “The Star Spangled Banner” with the school’s JROTC program providing the colors.
Kellani Arnold also provided some entertainment, singing, “I’ll Always Remember You” by Miley Cyrus.
Pearson later certified and presented the candidates for graduation.
From there, Don Scholl and Nancy Teicheira, Manteca Unified school board members, provided the acceptance of the class while awarding the diplomas.