Members of Lathrop High Class of 2019 have endured quite a bit.
Keannu Linnell, a promising young quarterback for the Spartans, suffered an aggressive form of cancer. Confined to a wheelchair while still on the road to recovery, he was at the school’s ninth annual commencement ceremony Thursday at Bennie Gatto Field, receiving his diploma along with some 300 or so of his classmates.
Principal Greg Leland acknowledged Jerald Asican, who died in a drowning accident last summer. His memory lived on during this special occasion.
There were triumphant moments.
“During your four years, Lathrop High went from zero to five league championships (in sports),” Leland said to his graduating seniors.
For class President Matthew Julien, these past four years represented “5,000 hours of joy” at LHS.
Student Body President Nikolle Sanchis, like most of her classmates, was amazed at how fast the passing years have gone by.
“This is the end of a memorable time of our lives,” she said.
Mandeep Garcha was valedictorian thanks to her 4.35 grade point average.
Karnjit Singh and William Smith shared the honor of co-salutatorians with identical 4.3 GPAs.
“Graduation is a bittersweet moment,” said Garcha, recalling her first day on campus as a confused freshman while being introduced to high school life by her Link Leaders.
Back then, they were on unfamiliar territory, having come from the Manteca Unified feeder sites, namely, Lathrop Elementary, Joseph Widmer and Mossdale.
“Four years later, we came together as a whole,” added Garcha, who will be attending UCLA in the fall.
Smith, who is enlisting in the U.S. Navy, gave shout outs to his favorite teachers.
Among those who helped “change his life forever” was Social Science teacher Michael Morgan.
“Unfortunately, he couldn’t be here (at graduation) -- his newborn was important,” Smith said.
As for the UC Davis-bound Singh, he’s looking forward to that next step.
Singh was especially thankful to Chef Jarvis Holloway, who is one of the district’s culinary arts instructor.
“I’ll be able to make real food in college,” he said.
In his address to his classmates, Singh added: “It’s been an honor and a pleasure — I’ll always cherish the memories here.”