They completed one important chapter of their storied lives.
On Wednesday, 11 students from Harvest High, an alternative education program of the Ripon Unified School District, received their diplomas inside the comforts of the Council Chambers.
The City of Ripon provided the accommodation after Sergei Samborski, Harvest High’s principal and teacher, had concerns of a heat wave on the campus parking lot.
That’s where the commencement exercises had been held since the program offered to local juniors and seniors began in August 2013.
Much to the chagrin of Samborski, it rained earlier in the day.
Congressman Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) took time out from his busy schedule to address the Class of 2017.
“Many of you would not be here without the support of your teachers, parents and family members,” he said.
No doubt, the graduates had their fair share of ups and downs in making it to this special day.
Nathaniel Anda, who was the student speaker, was once a defiant during his days at his mainstream school. “I’d walk out of class without permission,” he said.
Today, Anda is a different person thanks to Harvest High. Ditto that for his classmates, he added.
Samborski credited his “Dream Team” consisting of teachers Wesley Ayala and Bryan Markum, counselor Megan Thompson, and secretary Angela de la O, for their efforts throughout the year.
The graduates earned their diplomas by beautifying the campus to completing academic projects while learning the value of diligent work and quality education.
“Experience made you who you are – the next chapter will be the first educational step beyond high school,” said RUSD Superintendent Sigrid ‘Ziggy’ Robeson, addressing the Class of 2017.
Those receiving their diplomas on this day included the following: Nathaniel Anda, Salina Gloria Damian, Jesse Farias, Jake Terrance Fleming, Bryce Hurley, Lauren Elizabeth Murphy, Alexander Peavey, Isaias Rodriguez, Bobby Shirk, Rafael Jesus Soto and Arturo Anthony Valdez.
To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.