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Alternative high school made difference for these seniors
calla high
Calla High’s Lopreet Dheraj displays her graduation program on Friday.

They were just another face in the crowd.

That’s how Lopreet Dheraj, Alejandra Gutierrez, Addison Parker and Karen Ramirez described high school campus life prior to attending Calla High.

“I was only known for music,” said Dheraj prior to her graduation Friday at Calvary Community Church.

She discovered herself in the alternative education setting at Calla – more individualized attention – and crediting staff, in particular, counselor Gina Jurkota for those personal changes.

“Today, I love who I am rather than what I do,” said Dheraj, who still enjoys music.

She was the student speaker at the special event consisting of 101 seniors who made up the Class of 2022.

“We’re proud to be Calla High,” Dheraj proclaimed.

Ramirez, who received the English Department Award, needed the change from traditional high school after suffering from social anxiety.

On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic brought a whole new set of challenges to Ramirez, who persevered thanks to those at Calla.

“I’m now ready for that next step in life,” said Ramirez, who is planning to continue her education by attending Delta College.

Gutierrez, who attended traditional high school with Ramirez, moved over to Calla about four months ago.

It was there that she enjoyed doing a variety of activities while getting to know those in her new surroundings.

As for the results of that?

“We’re now one big family,” she said.

Gutierrez, who will also attend Delta College in the fall, was the recipient of several scholarships, including American Red Cross, Manteca Morning Rotary and Manteca Sunrise Kiwanis.

Parker had been at Calla for the past two years. He flourished in the classroom, enjoying the “individual support” he received from his teachers,

They, too, were impressed. He was twice recognized at graduation with Department Awards in both Science and Yearbook.

Meanwhile, Calla High Principal Dan Beukelman was thrilled with the return of a traditional graduation ceremony.

“It feels like 10 years ago,” he said, recalling the challenges of the past two years – facemasks, social distancing, drive-thru events, etc.