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Lathrop High boasts three valedictorians
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At Thursday’s Lathrop High graduation, Principal Michael Horwood described the Class of 2015 as a very “special group.”

This was the class with three valedictorians – the first-ever for the school – and a promising future.

Namrta Gill, Manpreet Singh and Melonie Vaughn earned that honor with identical 4.25 grade point averages.

Gill, who is also the class president, is going to UCLA to study Neuroscience. Singh is looking at pre-med when he attends UC Davis. Vaughn will study Biomedical Engineering at Harvard.

“My purpose is to help others,” said Vaughn, who along with her fellow co-valedictorians addressed the 295 seniors receiving their diplomas.

While she’s Ivy League-bound, Vaughn doesn’t consider herself successful as of yet, saying, “I’ve not accomplished my purpose.”

Gill also defined success in her speech.

But prior to that, she made a mention of her special talent. “I can take my tongue and touch my nose,” said Gill.

She mostly saw promise in each of her classmates wearing the school color of black and gold cap and gowns. “We’re all capable of accomplishing success,” said Gill.

Meanwhile, Singh thanked his friends for making his high school experience a memorable one. “Without you this journey would not have been the same,” he said.

The commencement exercises at Benny Gatto Field inside Paul Wiggins Stadium kicked off with the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance” processional as performed by the LHS Band under the direction of Desiree Bugarin.

The LHS Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps’ color guards made the presentation of colors before a jam-packed crowd consisting of parents, family members and guests. JROTC cadet Hailey Quatrell led in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The LHS Band also played “The Star-Spangled Banner” while Horwood welcomed those in attendance.

“This is my third graduation for Spartan Nation,” he said.

Math teacher Jeff Baldwin recognized the California Federation Scholarship award winners and school counselor Brandi Platt paid tribute to the Honor Cord recipients.

Student body President Mauricio Torres and Gill talked about the past four years, going from confused freshmen in 2011 to recently attending senior prom.

“We here on last time as Lathrop Spartans,” said Torres on graduation.

He’ll be attending Sacramento State in the fall to major in Civil Engineering.

Gill added: “In a few months we’ll again be faced with new challenges – But no matter how far you go, never forget your roots and continue to live the Spartan way.”