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More than 300 earn high school diplomas
SHS GRADS1 5-25-12
Tyler Ryan is all smiles after receiving his diploma during Thursdays 16th annual Sierra High commencement exercises. - photo by HIME ROMERO

The friendship shared between Sierra High valedictorian Nicole England and salutatorian Francis Sherry may have been stronger than the gusting winds that swept through Thursday’s commencement exercises at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.

As speakers at the 16th annual event, they shared their special moment in front of their classmates, teachers, staff and family with a poetic graduation address.

England and Sherry were often confused for one another during their days at Sierra. This day was no different.

“They say that high school memories last forever,” they said. “But after today, let’s make these next years the best of our lives.”

England and Sherry made up the over 300 students of Sierra High’s Class of 2012. They were also among the 36 students earning California Scholarship Federation Awards – or gold seal – as announced by biology instructor Larry Grimes.

Student body president Ricky Morris shared his homecoming story.

“Our (senior class) float took last place,” he recalled.

But it wasn’t about winning, Morris said, but rather the fun he and his classmates had while putting together the float during the wee hours.

“It’s what you do after you get knocked down that really matters,” he said. “Everybody gets knocked down, if not, you’re not trying hard enough.”

Meanwhile, Mark Twomey and Robert Bassett opened with an instrumental version of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Of course, that came after the SHS band under the direction of Rick Hammarstrom performed the processional “Pomp and Circumstance.”

Laney Ribota, a one-time Sierra Idol winner, performed Taylor Swift’s “Never Grow Up.”

Cheyenne Milligan and Alexis Clark did a duet “For Good” from the musical, ‘Wicked.’

Assistant Principal Dan Beukelman, on behalf of Principal Steve Clark, had the honors of presenting the class for certification.

Distributing the diplomas were school board members Michael Seelye and Wendy King, and Clara Schmiedt, Manteca Unified’s director of secondary education.

After the ceremonies, the graduates were joined on the field by friends and family.