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2010 Graduations: Valencia High's pride and preparation

Education: Valencia High graduates 542 students at annual commencement ceremony at COC

Posted: May 26, 2010 10:21 p.m.
Updated: May 27, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Valencia High School graduate Amanda Rompal reacts after spotting her family and friends in the stands during Wednesday's commencement ceremony at College of the Canyons' Cougar Stadium. Valencia graduated 542 seniors. Rompal said she plans to attend COC next year.

In many ways, Valencia High School grads are like the Vikings emblazoned on their books and around their school.

And while the 542 graduating students may have swapped horned helmets for flat mortarboard hats at Wednesday’s graduation, they are no less courageous, venturing out into a brand new and unknown world.

Graduates in bright purple robes and bright yellow robes filed past College of the Canyons football stands filled with waving moms and shouting dads, grandmothers and grandfathers, as they made their way to their seats.

Once seated, the school’s Viking Torch of Learning was passed by 2010 Class President Megan Hayes and ’10 Valedictorian Jee Heum Jung to Class President Alexandra Throckmorton and First Scholars Carly Chun-Hoon and Rachel Miller, all of the Class of 2011.

“We urge the Class of 2011 to strive for excellence,” said Hayes.

Valencia graduate Jabari Howard carried the Flame of Inspiration to the podium, and praised the teachers who inspired him.

“Great teachers never stop believing in us,” he said.

His praise was followed by  the sound of singers and musicians providing songs of hope and inspiration.

Senior Class Vocalist Sterling Bales sang “The Climb,” which was written by Jessi Alexander and Jon Mabe, and Valencia Choir Director Christine Tavares conducted her senior choir in singing “Remember Me This Way,” written by David Foster and Linda Thompson, just as the diplomas were handed out.

For senior Kessley Chan, “Remember Me This Way” was poignant and meaningful.

“I think what I’m going to miss the most about high school is probably seeing my friends everyday, and some of the really inspiring teachers I’ve had such as Kim Forbes my VTV teacher.”

Valencia High School, which is located on the dusty banks of the San Francisquito Creek on North Dickason Drive, boasts having 115 teachers for its students, bringing the average class size down to a reported 26 students per teacher.

More than half the school’s graduates in the Class of 2008 met UC and CSU course requirements.

“I think we’ve got a ways to go before we see any real economic growth,” said Valencia High School Principal Dr. Paul Priesz, shortly before the school’s graduation pageantry got underway.

“For the students to prepare themselves is the most important thing,” he said about the graduates.

“It’s not that they’re entering the working world right away, they still need to have a post-secondary education and they need to prepare for that.”

In a send-off message published in the school’s Senior Handbook for graduates, Priesz wrote: “You started your Viking voyage a few short years ago, and now you’re approaching your final destination.”

Members of this year’s Valencia Viking graduating class, like the scores of others that have gone before, are proud of the school’s Viking symbol as a sign of character strength.



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