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Lathrop High graduates 292 in Class of 2018
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Valedictorian Chad Hoang addresses the Lathrop High Class of 2018. - photo by Wayne Thallander
Honor, pride and accomplishment.
Those were the words that Chad Hoang used to best describe Lathrop High’s graduation ceremony on Friday.
The valedictorian led his classmates in a round of applause to “express our love for ourselves,” he said.
Most of the 292 classmates complied by putting their hands together. It was one of many times during this special evening that they came together as one, showing support of a journey that began four years ago.
LHS was an “island in the middle of nowhere,” as Hoang called it, that proved to be much nicer from the inside.
This was where the community came out to equally show support, with city dignitaries along with the principals from the feeder schools -- Lathrop Elementary (David Silveira), Widmer (Kathy Brown Snyder) and Mossdale (Susan Sanders) -- all in attendance.
It was where memories were made. Included was the school’s first-ever Valley Oak League championship in the Spartan girls basketball team.
According to ASB President Virly Santos, LHS, since its opening in 2008, had long been considered an underdog.
Times are changing.
For Greg Leland, the Class of 2018 will always hold a soft spot in his heart. “This is my first graduation as principal,” he said.
Leland, who was previously at Sierra High, came to LHS over a year ago as assistant principal. He was named the top administrator this year.
Graduation was a time for reflecting and sharing memories.
Senior class President Yvette Javier, for example, remembered shaking hands with each of her teachers on that first day of school during her freshman year.
“I can remember people telling me back then that the four years will go by so quickly. That’s been so true,” she said.
Marissa Briseno expressed gratitude to her family for helping make this day possible. None had achieved her academic success, most notably, of becoming class salutatorian or that of being accepted to the University of California, Berkeley, to study Biochemical Engineering.
Briseno noted that her accomplishments were made possible by the many years of hard work and sacrifice by her family.
As salutatorian, she had agonized about addressing her classmates during graduation.
“This was a difficult task — writing this speech,” Briseno said. “It was the most stressful thing I had to do (at LHS), and I took AP Calculus.”
The graduation ceremony kicked off with the LHS Band under the direction of Desiree Bugarin performing “Pomp and Circumstance” followed by JROTC cadet Destiny Moebius leading the Pledge of Allegiance.
Counselor Lisa Wilson, on behalf of ailing advisor Jeff Baldwin, announced the California Scholastic Federation lifetime achievement winners.

Leland presented the graduating class to Manteca Unified officials — Deputy Superintendent Clark Burke had the honors of making the acceptance speech prior to the distribution of diplomas.