Analy graduation 2017

Analy High seniors move on to graduation: Move on up to college and their careers

The Analy High School Class of 2017 graduated on June 2 with conflicting musings on time management and procrastination from student speakers as about 350 seniors celebrated the end of their high school careers.

Addressing more than 1,000 family and friends on both sides of the high schools' football field, Kathryn Cardle, one of two student commencement speakers, urged graduates “whether you are going to Safeway or to Stanford (University) to use this opportunity to invoke change.”

She said the walk to the nearby Safeway store to get snacks and sandwiches — officially prohibited by unofficially ignored — was emblematic of choices that graduates will face throughout their careers. Life, like high school, will be full of opportunities of choosing to associate between “book smart and street smart kids,” she said.

Her speech, titled “Straight from the Tiger’s Mouth,” liberally cited a popular feature of the student newspaper “Tiger Times” that anonymously quoted students about their observations about student life.

Grant Schwall, the second commencement speaker, recounted how he entered Analy High as a freshman thinking “school spirit was lame at first.” Three years later, he concluded there was value in the Analy Tiger spirit that embodied principles of school pride, learning and academic and athletic success.

Quoting several times from Survivor’s song, “The Eye of the Tiger,” he said he found inspiration for combating common afflictions such as the slump of senioritis and procrastination.

Analy’s commencement program opened with greetings from speakers of almost a dozen languages delivered by native and acquired speakers of foreign languages, an indication of how diverse the student population of the west county district has become.

By Bleys Rose

Lions smile with pride at graduation

The 2017 graduating class of El Molino High School was all about smiles.

“Who doesn’t like a good smile?” asked El Molino Principal Matt Dunkle. “It signifies happiness, gratefulness, kindness.”

Smiles signified the 119 graduating seniors who walked across the stage on the El Molino field in Forestville on Friday night, commemorating the hard work, tears and smiles of the past four years while looking forward to the next step for El Mo’s oldest young adults.

“The class of 2017 will have meaningful impact on the world in which we live,” Dunkle said. “I am assured of that because of their smiles.”

Smiles were, indeed, abound Friday night as five student speakers shared stories of their high school journeys: Catalina Membrila spoke of finding pride in her Latina roots, Amber Pavon explained her journey learning to work with general anxiety disorder and Alex Diaz Pena relived his nascent days as a rapper at El Molino.

“We are now part of a squad that will live on forever because we are El Molino,” Pena said, adding, “I feel like I’m talking at the Grammy’s.”

Lillie Albachten recalled how her time spent at El Molino was “stockpiled with emotions” and encouraged her peers to “relish this accomplishment.”

Indeed, with scholarships abound and graduates continuing their education at places like UC Berkeley, Texas A&M, Northwestern University, Humboldt State and 59 other junior colleges, universities and state schools, the class of 2017 has a lot to be proud of.

“We feel ready,” said Noelle Terrero, class president.

The tight-knit class got one last laugh Friday night, as administration ran out of diplomas.

“Front row,” bellowed West Sonoma County Union High School District Board of Trustee David Stecher. “Give ‘em up.”

And, in an act that exemplified what it means to be an El Molino Lion, about a dozen graduates offered up their diploma covers to share with their peers.

They did it, of course, with a smile.

By Amie Windsor

Laguna High celebrate graduation

Boys in black gowns and caps and girls decked in crimson graduation attire, the two dozen students departing Laguna High, west county’s continuation school, proudly marked the end to their formal education and their start on new paths.

Many are going on to Santa Rosa Junior College. One is joining the U.S. Marine Corps. One is aiming to be an emergency medical technician and another says she is settling for nothing less than becoming a medical examiner.

In a formal graduation ceremony on Friday morning, June 2, attended by about 200 family and friends and all five of the trustees of the West Sonoma County Unified School District board, Laguna High graduated its Class of 2017.

“Each and every one of them has had obstacles to overcome,” said school principal Ken Cromwell. “They have had something to work through that they did not know they would confront.”

Brenna Whitehead, one of the senior class speakers, said she plans to start at SRJC and transfer to University of California at Davis with the goal of becoming a medical examiner.  Whitehead, who noted she held a job and bought herself a car during high school, received scholarships from the Russian River Rotary, the Sebastopol Rotary, VFW Gold Ridge Post 3919, the Gravenstein Lions Club and the Doyle Trustee Award.

“This school is considered a harbor for delinquents,” she said.  Her question, “Do you see many of those up here?” was met with a thunderous “Hell, no!” from the audience.

Another student speaker, Alondra Gomez, said the school’s small size (it has only about 100 students) and the close relationship with teachers made all the difference in setting her on a path to the SRJC. In addition to a Doyle Trustee Award, she received scholarships from the Gravenstein Lions Club, Sebastopol Kiwanis Club, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and the Spirit of Laguna Award.

“I found the key to success is getting up early, being on time and working hard,” she said.

By Bleys Rose

Guerneville School Graduation 2017

Guerneville School Middle School Graduation

MOVING UP — Guerneville School Superintendent Dana Pedersen presented the school's 2017 class of 35 8th graders in a promotion ceremony at the school last Thursday afternoon. The students, in alphabetical order, are Sequoia Affonso, Estrella Almanza, Phoenix Dagostino, Ivory Daly, Michaela Flowers, Jacob Free, Haley Glueck, Olivia Granados, Charles Hall, Michael Hall, Savannah Hebert, Noah Kenny, Ethan Kotte, Lily Mitchell, Angel Moreno, Avery O'Brien, Celina Ortega, Ginger Perkins, Luca Pinetti, Rafaella Pinetti, Victoria Probst, Ana Ramirez, Trenton Rivas, Trevor Rivas, Cameryn Rodgers, Trinity Safran, Oliver Seifert, Shyann Severns Shafer, Rachel Sierra, Yassmin Sierra, Chaylee Tensfeldt, Wyatte Vargas, Evelyn Vazquez, Xitlalic Vital and Jordyn Wilson.

By Frank Robertson

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