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Weston Ranch graduates 256 seniors
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Aljanea Brown, standing in between Courtney Brown (front) and Raymond Dominguez, waves to familiar faces while entering the stadium. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT

The Weston Ranch High Class of 2014 may have been overshadowed by the previous classes.

But that didn’t matter on Friday as the graduates stood proudly before a jam-packed football stadium consisting family, friends, and special guests.

Included were Dale Fritchen, Rex Holiday and Sam Fant, who is the current Manteca Unified school board member.

All three were on hand to distribute diplomas to 256 members of the graduating class. Fritchen, Holiday and Fant hold the distinction of being the only school board representatives serving this area of south Stockton since it became part of MUSD.

For the classmates, the journey of getting to this point began 13 years ago.  “It took a lot of encouraging from family, friends and educators,” Principal Jose Fregoso said.

He even referred to this ninth annual commencement exercise as “a special event in honor of the Class of 2014.”

Graduation was a time of reflection and analogies of the past four years.

Valedictorian Kiran Preet Kaur compared it to the metamorphosis life cycle of butterfly, from an egg to caterpillar or larva, and cocoon. She’s en route to UCLA in the fall to major in Biology.

“In 2014, we turned into beautiful butterflies,” Kaur said.

For salutatorian Lucero Ambriz Madrigal, the past four years played out like a soccer tournament.

She played soccer all four years for the Cougars and will be attending California State University, Stanislaus to seek a degree in Nursing.

“Our first year (at WRHS), it was Freshmen vs. the Whole School,” said Ambriz Madrigal, who likened the teachers as coaches, friends or fellow classmates as teammates, and teachers as the referees.

“Then it was Sophomores vs. Finding a Comfortable Place (followed by) Juniors vs. Hard Classes to Take (in preparation) for College,” she said.

This past year, Ambriz Madrigal called it “Seniors vs. Bittersweet – we’re wanting to leave high school but not wanting to grow up.”

Diplomas represented the first-place prize while the yet-to-be-determined future is the ultimate prize, she added.

In addition, the WRHS band under the direction of Joe Barron – along with members of the graduating class – played an instrumental version of “I’ll be There” while the WRHS Choir did likewise, singing “Some Nights, We Are Young, Carry On.”

Renee Royster-West led in the Pledge of Allegiance, Billie Jean Weir performed the Stars Spangled Banner, and Senior Class President Brittney Olitan and Vice President Alexandra Marapao shared in giving the class speech.