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2010 Graduations: West Ranch High's rigor and relevance

Education: West Ranch graduates 659 students at its annual commencement ceremony at COC

Posted: May 27, 2010 9:45 p.m.
Updated: May 28, 2010 4:30 a.m.

West Ranch High graduate Simran Hothi waves to the crowd as West Ranch High School's class of 2010 enters the College of the Canyons' Cougar Stadium for its commencement ceremony Thursday.

The name-shouting and applause was instantaneous, as hundreds of graduating Wildcats donning blue robes and gold robes filed on to the field at College of the Canyons’ Cougar Stadium.

Among the faculty members leading the procession were the school’s three remaining founding leaders, Principal Bob Vincent, ASB director Todd Arrowsmith and athletic director Dody Garcia.

Mother Joanne Rusconi teared as her son Nico stepped onto the field with the rest of the West Ranch High School graduates.

“It just seems like yesterday I was giving birth, and now he’s receiving his diploma,” said the Valencia resident. “I really do believe he is prepared — you’ve got to let them go.”

Valedictorian Judith Romea and outgoing Class President Spencer Boring passed the Lamp of Learning off to 2010 ASB President Kelly Herron and 2011 Class President Sean McDonald.

Vincent urged the class to carry with them a commitment to relationships, rigor and relevance — three words the class of ‘10 has heard since they were incoming freshman. They’ve stayed true to that message, the principal said.

Relationships are always the first key, he said. Rigor in learning, the application of life lessons and community service will follow, he said.  

“We want students to find relevance in what they’re learning in school today and in their future,” he said.

For 17-year-old graduate Jared Ortiz, leaving friends behind to attend Cal State Long Beach is the hardest part.

“The friends are what get you through four years of high school,” Ortiz said.

Christian Delarosa said there was one friend, Taylor LaKamp, who couldn’t join the ceremony but was still with the graduates.

The grads and others wore a picture of LaKamp pinned on their robe.

“Sophomore year, he passed away due to a motorcycle accident,” Delarosa said. “He’s with us.”

The graduates took a moment of silence to honor LaKamp and Brittany Henry, who died freshman year of leukemia.  

The graduates of 2010 were role models to rest of the school, Arrowsmith said.

“This group of seniors stepped up as leaders,” he said.  

West Ranch High School graduated 659 students, the largest graduating Hart district class this year. A total of 48 honor scholars graduated with a grade-point average of 4.0 or higher during seven semesters.

The seniors dedication to learning helped West Ranch achieve the highest Academic Performance Index (API) scores in the William S. Union High School District. In addition to academics, the students exceeded expectations in music, arts, athletics and more, Vincent said.

“They have answered the call when it comes to accepting the challenge of rigor,” Vincent said. “I’m very proud of each and every one of the graduates.”

Arrowsmith said the class of 2010 was an exemplification of true pride in its high school, which was founded in 2004.

“They really got into the spirit of it and they really believed in West Ranch and all that we are about,” he said.


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