Pacheco High and others in Los Banos graduate from school

Pacheco High School’s Class of 2015 was focused on the future as its members said goodbye to one another last week.

Students cheered for their classmates on June 5 at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium as they shared advice about tackling the future.

“We’ve all grown up, matured and are starting this crazy new chapter in our lives,” said Matthew Cigolini during the commencement welcoming address. “This is a time we’ve all been waiting anxiously for.”

Christopher Ballesteros reminisced about the past four years.

“We walked on to this campus knowing that we were going to run this place sooner rather than later. During the past four years we’ve had to deal with loss, tragedy and change. In spite of everything life has thrown at us, we made it through and we’ve done it together,” he said. “As we travel through life we are going to be challenged with many more obstacles and situations that we’ll never see coming. I want to encourage all of you to stay strong.”

English teacher Ila Nelson handed some students lifetime membership awards to the Pacheco High Chapter of the California Scholarship Federation. Students who met the academic standards to receive the award are eligible for certain scholarships throughout the state. The Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion also gave scholarships to students. The criteria to receive the money from the veterans groups was to have demonstrated good citizenship and character during the past four years.

Jose Chavez, the Class of 2015 salutatorian, told his classmates something they likely heard from their parents before they even started attending school — remember to brush your teeth.

“We all know that white teeth are the key to a beautiful smile,” Chavez said. “My mother always told me when you get upset or mad you have two choices, allow yourself to be mad or smile through the situation. Always smile throughout life.”

Valedictorian Marsha Noeline said Pacheco High taught her to never quit. She told her classmates to never be bystanders.

“Never being a bystander means never denying that right to thrive instead of just survive. Be courageous, be curious, believe in the pursuit of justice and always believe in yourself,” Noeline said.

Pacheco High Principal Dan Sutton said it has been amazing to see the growth of the students in the years they’ve gone from freshmen to seniors.

“Our lives are filled with turning points. Many of those turning points are filled with risks,” Sutton told the graduates. “Whatever you want to do in life, do it. Take the risk. If you fail be bold enough to take the risk and try again.”

Superintendent Steve Tietjen and school board trustees Tommy Jones, Dominic Falasco and John Mueller handed out diplomas.

Over at Los Banos High School students received their diploma proclamation from school board members and administrative staff. Earlier in the day on June 5 Los Banos Junior High had its advancement ceremonies. Also San Luis High School and Crossroads Independent Study held commencement ceremonies on June 4.