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Weather cooperates as eighth-grade classes conduct promotion ceremonies
Some members of Nile Garden School’s eighth-grade class line up in front of a colorful mural-size backdrop during the promotion ceremony Wednesday night. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO
Father Patrick Walker paid tribute to the parents and teachers of St. Anthony School’s graduates of 2010 whom he called “the shining lights” of the future as they prepare to move on to the next chapter in their lives.

Speaking during the graduation mass Wednesday evening which was followed by the conferring of diplomas the pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church said, “The teachers have done a beautiful job for these children.”

But “most importantly,” he said, credit goes to “the parents, because you are the first teachers of the children.”

In challenging the graduates and inspiring them to seek avenues of service to others and to their community, Walker borrowed a quote about service from the great philosopher, theologian and physician of the 20th century, Albert Schweitzer: “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”

“By serving others, we are serving God,” said Walker who was himself a school teacher before he became a priest.

He also encouraged them to “continually be brightened by the light of Christ.”

At Golden West School, 99 eighth graders had their promotion ceremony and awarding of diplomas before a packed school gym Wednesday evening. Doing the honors of presenting the graduating class was school Principal Sherie Gates. Indiana Perreira addressed her classmates with her message, “A night full of memories.” Classmate Julia Bowman spoke about “New beginnings” in her graduation message, while Rubia Lemus and Victoria Ryser talked about “The Climb.”

Opening the ceremony with the welcome address were graduates Maureya May and Noely Sepulveda.

Later in the evening, during the promotion ceremony at Nile Garden School, Mother Nature provided the spectacular backdrop with the appearance of a rainbow and a colorful sunset. The weather cooperated with the rain falling down at the end of the outdoor ceremony held in the school’s courtyard.

Helping principal Deborah Noceti present the certificates of promotion awards were junior high teacher Timothy Lewis and school board member Nancy  Teicheira.

Class speakers were Aaron Mackey who talked about “The Nile Garden Journey,” with Linda Pina giving an address on “Preparing for the Future.”

A visibly mature class of some 90 eighth graders from Brock Elliott Elementary School entered through helium balloon archways decorated in school colors with the usual pomp and circumstance Wednesday night in a packed gymnasium at Sierra High School.

Principal Debbie Ruger welcomed the parents and family members in the stands and gave a personal message to her graduates seated in front of her in the center of the gym.  She asked those who were in her class room their first year at Brock Elliott to stand and be recognized.  Ruger noted they had made the journey through their school years together.  

There were nearly a dozen students wearing gold cords for academic achievement of straight A’s and about half that number with silver cords.  Brock Elliott won the distinction several years ago of being a California Distinguished School under Debbie Ruger’s leadership.

Perfect attendance honors went to Stefanie Robertson, Krystin Riley, Daniel Ruiz and Mariel Nguyen.  Riley and Nguyen also had 4.0 achievement records for their eighth grade year.  Other graduates with 4.0 grade point averages included Megan Carbiener, Matthew Flores, Anjeleah Gotiong, Rachel Holmstrom, Zianni Perilla, Kendall Riley, Joshua Spooner, and Nelson Troncoso.

Student speakers for the evening were Jasmeet Sandhu and Amanda Smith.

The Pomp and Circumstance musical rendition was played by the Brock Elliott School Band that also played the “Star Spangled Banner” under the leadership of Mrs. Melissa Manalastas, band director.

The band also presented a musical presentation of “Pirates of the Caribbean Soundtrack Highlights.”  The student vocal performance was offered by Samantha Wallace in singing “The Climb,” by Miley Cyrus.

Presenting the awards to the students were Mr. Jeff Caligiuri, Mrs. Trina Doyle and Mr. Dennis Flemming.
The opening pledge of allegiance ceremony was led by Dalton Clements and Megan Gonsalves.

A slide showing class members in their eighth grade year was a student project involving Amanda Smith, Stephanie Robertson, Kelly Eichsteadt and Logan Slitcher under the direction of advisor Jeff Caligiuri.    

 Walter Woodward School Principal Sherrie Jamero, assisted by Manteca Unified Senior Director of Business Services Jacqui Breitenbucher and Vice Principal Rebecca Ronbinson, presented the promotion certificates to members of the eighth-grade Class of 2010 Wednesday evening. Delivering the eighth-grade speech was Megan Gonzales, with Eryka Rubio giving the Associated Student Body President’s address. The evening promotion ceremony was held in the school’s courtyard packed by the graduates’ family and friends.

The Crossroads Grace Community Church on Moffat Boulevard was the setting for the commencement exercise of New Haven School’s Class of 2010. The graduating class’s speakers were Alyssa Casillas and Clarissa Medrano. Academic awards were presented by New Haven Principal David O’Leary. He was assisted by eighth-grade teachers Joyce Braitman and Kathy Correia. Manteca Unified Board of Education president Michael Seelye did the honors of presenting the diplomas to the graduating eighth-graders.

— Glenn Kahl contributed to this story