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13 YEARS LATER . . .
From kindergarten to Manteca High grad
Makenna Condit
Makenna Condit holds a copy of the Aug. 16, 2006 edition of the Manteca Bulletin that highlighted her first day of school as a Shasta School kindergartner. Makenna is graduating this week from Manteca High. She is shown as a 5-year-old in the far right hand side of the main photo of the students standing in line looking to the right.

Makenna Condit on Friday is going to travel the “Manteca High Mile” for the last time from her home near Shasta School to cap her 13-year journey through the Manteca Unified school system.

It is the same mile that her mom Kristen (Wentworth) Condit traveled as a high school student as the daughter of Rick and Judy Wentworth who grew up next door.

Makenna had no way of knowing on that first day 13 years ago when she stepped into Room 10 where Myra Erickson along with strangers who would become her friends and remain so even today that she would become part of a family tradition at Manteca High where both her parents as well as grandparents were Buffaloes and her grandpa Mike Henry taught. Back then her attention was focused on colors, numbers, courtesy, and the alphabet plus a vivid colorful carpet with all sorts of shapes that caught her fancy that first day of school.

Today as she starts her final week as a Manteca High senior she is reflecting on not just the 99-year tradition that she is part of as the Manteca High Class of 2019 but the next step on her education journey that will take her to the University of California at Santa Barbara in September. She plans to seek a degree in political science and perhaps pursue a law career.

On Wednesday, thanks to a late start for Manteca High, she will walk next door where grandmother Judy will serve her breakfast as she did almost every morning before she headed off to Shasta School.

Then on Friday, Makenna — who is the current Associated Student Body President for Manteca High and who spent the last four years walking the same halls and sitting in many of the same classrooms as her father Mark (Class of 1981) and mother Kristen (Class of 1988) — will walk across the stage to receive her diploma. If the weather cooperates it will be at the same venue where her parents seven years apart become Manteca High graduates. Sitting in the bleachers will be brother Karson destined to continue the family tradition in two years as part of the Class of 2021.

Makenna will no doubt be happy that her brother is there to watch her.

It was a different story 13 years ago.

“I wasn’t happy that I had to go to school for the entire day but my brother didn’t,” Makenna recalled.

The idea of going to school while Karson got to stay home quickly vanished when she stood in line outside of Room 10 and started making friends. Among them was Anna Sephos — who became a fast friend — as well as others that she named who were photographed standing in line with her on that first day of school.

Most continued on to Manteca High. A few have gone elsewhere including East Union High.

The fact she has friends at East Union and Sierra High has made the rivalries the three schools share intense and friendly at the same time.

“Kids that play with each other on Little League teams, youth football, and soccer end up playing against each other in high school,” Mark noted.

As ironic as it might sound, Makenna started every school day her senior year as a Buffalo attending an advanced placement calculus class at Sierra High because her fourth period student leadership class was at the same time the same course was offered at Manteca High. That only helped to sweeten the rivalry as there would be good natured ribbing on game days.

Makenna played two years of softball and a year of basketball for the Buffaloes. But it was in a sport she never played and had a challenge learning that she ended up excelling at — tennis. Aside from Valley Oak League titles and section banners the real value for Makenna as it is for other students that get involved in extra-curricular activities was how it helped her develop self-confidence, sharpen team working skills, and develop a drive.

Even though Makenna is a strong academic students knowing she had to keep her grades up allowed her to combat the urge some days when she just wanted to stay home from school.  

“Playing tennis gave me confidence,” Makenna said.

Besides being student body president Makenna has also served as Manteca High’s student representative to the Manteca Unified School District board of education. That experience mirrored that somewhat of her mom who was also Manteca High’s student board representative, student body vice president, and cheerleader. Her dad didn’t have time for extra-curricular activities as he had to work after school.

It was just four years ago this week that Makenna gave one of the student speeches at the Shasta School promotion exercises.  It took place in the Manteca High gym.

If she could give advice to the Shasta School 8th graders — or any 8th grader heading to high school in August — it would be the following: “Try everything. Go to everything. Work hard.”

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email