Wednesday, November 25, 2015 • 11:02

VC High: Commencement to remember

June 18, 2014
On a warm but breezy June evening, the Valley Center High Graduating Class of 2014 was welcomed to the traditional strains of "Pomp and Circumstance," performed by the Valley Center High School Band. They were preceded by the 20 students who composed the Junior Honor Guard. The senior class choir members paid tribute to our great country with their soulful rendition of the National Anthem.

The Valley Center High School Staff attending was introduced, along with Superintendent Lou Obermeyer. It was announced that she would be officiating at her last commencement ceremony, as she has retired as of the end of the school year.

Valley Center High School Class of 2014 graduate Jason Blasius will be attending the U.S. Air Force Academy in the fall.
Associated Student Body President for 2013 to 2014, David Trok, formally welcomed both graduates and guests, and announced he will be attending Eastern University in Philadelphia to study history and Christian leadership. He spoke about the memories he had during high school. He implored graduates to not think of this as the end, but as a beginning. He reminded them to not just exist, but to truly live life.

This year's graduation hosted three valedictorian speakers, Emma Sloman, Julia Stone, and Taylor West. Emma Sloman, who will be attending University of California at Berkeley to study mathematics, spoke about how we cannot choose our past, but we can choose our future. She also said she and her classmates need to remember their roots. She said though there was all the typical high school drama, with everyone knowing everyone's business, we should learn to cherish the memories, not relive them. In closing she urged the graduates to discover the world beyond high school.

Jasmine Contreras, class of 2014, receives her diploma. Jasmine will be attending Arizona State University.
Next up was Julia Stone, a National High School member and a scholar athlete for 2014. She started out by telling everyone how nervous she had been to get up and speak. She also spoke about how the past four years had been a time for everyone to grow comfortable in their role as high school students. After graduation night, none of the high school drama matters. It is time for a fresh start, she said, as the graduates have a chance to discover themselves. They are not the same person they were four years ago, nor will they be the same people in four more years. She closed by asking "Who do you want to be?"

The third and final valedictorian speaker was Taylor West, who will be a bioengineering major at the University of California San Diego. Her intent is to be able to use her skills for the Wounded Warrior Project. She gave a memorable quote from the late Steve Jobs of how life is short, and that we should not waste it living someone else's life. She said we should live our own lives with boldness and courage. She also cited a quote by Robert Frost that freedom lies in being bold. To live with moral courage means questioning with boldness in order to effect change. It is better to stand alone in truth than in group with ignorance.

The senior choir were up next. They performed a medley of their choosing. They selected "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang, "We are Family" by Sister Sledge, and "Shout" by The Isley Brothers, which had everyone cheering.

Faculty member and Crystal Rienick, who has been with the Valley Center Pauma Valley Unified School District for fifteen years, six of them with Valley Center High School, was chosen by the senior class to give the address. It was obvious why the students had chosen her, as her wit was quite keen throughout her speech of how she was hopeful that they had learned life skills in high school, such as how to text and Twitter in class on the down low, or how to ask a date out in spectacular fashion, citing how David Trok had asked Taylor West out to the prom from horseback. She closed with how these students stood on the threshold of the trail to their future. She beseeched them to go forth and use their conjunctive adverbs correctly.

Principal Ron McCowan presented the Class of 2014 and verified that all had met the academic requirements in the state of California, and were therefore eligible to graduate. Superintendent Obermeyer accepted the 282 seniors, who then walked across the stage and accepted their diplomas from the Valley Center Pauma Valley Unified School District Staff of Karen Burnstein, Lori Johnson, Don Martin, Mary Polito, and Michael Robledo. The Alma Mater was given, after which Principal McCowan introduced the graduates of 2014. It was a heartfelt moment signified by the traditional graduate cap toss.

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