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Sierra High grads ready for action
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Sierra High graduate Enrique Jasso Jr. started to celebrate on the field Friday during the 20th annual Sierra High commencement ceremony at Daniel Teicheira Stadium. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Everything you need to know about life you can learn from the movies.
Well at least that’s what Sierra High School’s top two academic performers had to say on Friday at the school’s 20th commencement ceremony at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.
Both Andrea Zarevich, Sierra High’s salutatorian, and Candace Lao, the valedictorian, drew heavily from Hollywood to relate to the 340 graduating seniors that all going in different directions now that they’ve completed their formal secondary education as graduates.
According to Zarevich, she learned that the Sierra High School Class of 2016 might as well be “The Breakfast Club” – the mixture of student archetypes that John Hughes made famous in 1985 when he had all of them serve detention together with a hard-nosed teacher on a Saturday morning.
“Sierra High School taught us what John Hughes taught the world in 1985,” Zarevich said. “That’s because Sierra High School is ‘The Breakfast Club.’”
Zarevich noted that while students can be broken up into tags – the brain, the athlete, the basket case, the princess or the criminal – that their time on campus working closely with one another taught them that they don’t have to necessarily associate with any one thing. That spirit of collaboration and acceptance of others, she said, is what made the four years they all spent together so great.
And despite the fact that they might be nervous about their future, Zarevich reassured them that the world needed their spirits and their skills.
“We may be scared and we may think that we aren’t ready for the world,” she said. “But the world is ready for us.”
When Lao got the chance to step to the microphone, the young woman who was voted the top female student-athlete in the Valley Oak League with her 4.27 grade point average and will attend UCLA in the fall – borrowed heavily from the Hollywood treatment to remind students that it isn’t about the obstacles that come your way in life, but you respond to them that determines how you’re remembered.
“Life is about having the resiliency to handle loss and never-ending hardship, and this type of resiliency can be found in the film Forest Gump,” Lao said. “The obstacles he faced wasn’t was he was remembered for, but his mentality in handling life’s obstacles is.”
And her closing words to the graduates were as timeless as the film that she chose to encapsulate her points.
“We need to create a unique pathway in life – no matter the hardships we face we need to treat each with a smile on our face,” Lao said. “We are limitless – we are powerful – and we are the one and only Class of 2016.”
Friday marked the 20th time that Sierra High School has sent a class of graduates out into the world to make their mark, and it was a banner year for the school in more ways than one.
While the score on the stadium scoreboard was set at 20-16 – the year of the class – there were 0:58 on the clock to match the amount of time that Sierra had left when they went up 20-15 over Chowchilla in the CIF State Division IV-A Football Championship in the fall. Principal Steve Clark said that they didn’t mind spotting the Redskins a point in the final score on Friday since it was fitting for all of the graduates to see that.
According to Clark, every single varsity sports team on campus has a collective GPA above 3.0 with the highest registering at 3.8, and the graduating class left their eternal mark by adding a new trophy case to the foyer of the large gym that he said will house the school’s new “hardware” – the CIF State Championship trophy – quite well.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.