Graduation ceremony honors seniors with diplomas, scholarships
Seniors of the class of the 2010 turn their tassels to represent their transition from students to graduates. The 29th commencement, held May 27 in the Peoples Church sanctuary, drew about 1,700 attendees.
After four years of classes, sports and extracurriculars, the efforts of the 2010 seniors came to fruition with the 29th commencement, May 27.
The graduation ceremony, held in the Peoples Church sanctuary, drew about 1,700 parents, families and friends to honor the 65 graduates.
Over the course of the evening, seniors performed, presented speeches for the audience, received scholarships and other accolades, and were given diplomas. The band and choir also provided music throughout the night.
"I went to graduation because I have friends that are seniors, and I wanted to see the actual progression from senior to graduate," Jessica Healy, '13, said. "The ceremony was heartfelt because the teachers really cared about the students and showed their love."
Following G.L. Johnson's invocation, salutatorian Tatiana Fontes and valedictorian Elizabeth Grossman provided the traditional salutatory and valedictory.
"I thought both Tatiana and Elizabeth did great on their speeches," Dolly Mizner, '12, said. "Overall, it was really nice; the ceremony was great."
As in previous years, a member of the community was invited to give the graduation address. Jerry Dyer, chief of police of the Fresno Police Department, filled this role by encouraging the graduates to reach their full potential.
"Having the chief of police here was awesome," Mizner said. "He's been a big part of the Fresno community, so him being a part of this [graduation] is really great."
Scholarships presented to seniors
Each year the Parent Support Network (PSN) awards a scholarship in recognition of "academic and spiritual excellence," according to the application form. At the ceremony, PSN co-presidents Lori Mascarenas and Pam Powell presented scholarships to Paige Powell and Riley Endicott.
After PSN, academic adviser Molly Sargent announced the recipient of the California Scholarship Federation (CSF) scholarship. This $1,000 award went to Suzanna Quiring, who served as president of the CSF chapter.
In addition, Sargent presented the winner of the staff and faculty scholarship. This accolade honors "academic achievement, contributions to the school and Christian testimony," she said. The scholarship went to Grossman, providing $2,500 for her education.
In conclusion of her high school years, senior Sarah Barnett receives her diploma from Superintendent Debbie Siebert. The class of 2010 included 65 graduates.
"It is such a blessing to be chosen as the recipient of the faculty-staff scholarship, and was quite a surprise," Grossman said. "There were so many well-qualified candidates; I wasn't expecting to win. It's such a big distinction, and I'm honored to have been chosen."
Events wrap up graduation
Following the presentation of diplomas by Principal Todd Bennett, Superintendent Debbie Siebert and others, the graduates and audience were invited to attend a reception in the Peoples Church gym. Student leadership organized this event, providing refreshments and presenting a slideshow of the senior class.
The graduates concluded the evening by attending the annual sober grad night, sponsored and organized by senior parents. The party, traditionally kept secret until the night of graduation, consisted of a dinner at the Quirings' house and entertainment at Boomers.
"I thought it was really fun, but it was long," Nacoya Villegas said. "I loved being with my whole class; the parents did such a great job."
Class of 2009 returns
While families and friends dominated the audience, many alumni also attended to witness the seniors' graduation.
"I came to graduation because I wanted to see everyone again," Chelsea Joy, '09, said. "I have spent a year without seeing familiar FC faces that I saw for years, and wanted to celebrate with everybody."
After graduating the year before, Andrew Biehler was able to compare his experience to this year's ceremony.
"There obviously was a difference with Mr. Bennett being there [instead of Gary Schultz], but it was pretty much the same," Biehler said. "I'm very glad the teachers still line up and do the procession. I didn't want to miss it [graduation]."
"The ceremony was heartfelt because the teachers really cared about the students and showed their love." --Jessica Healy, '13
In addition, Kristina Palmer noticed emotional differences between going through graduation and observing it from the audience.
"When I graduated myself, I was more absorbed in my own thoughts and memories, not really paying attention," Palmer said. "But watching others graduate was more nostalgic because I was actually listening to the speakers. I came back to support the class behind me, since I've known many of them since kindergarten."
Parents, students reflect on evening
As their children received diplomas, parents in the audience experienced a range of emotions. For Rhonda Christopher, mother of Leah, watching her daughter graduate made her feel "happy and thrilled."
"At first we weren't positive that we made the right choice by sending Leah here in the sixth grade, but over the years, we realized this was a great choice," Rhonda said. "Now we have enrolled her two brothers, and one of them is graduating from eighth grade."
After attending graduation, sophomore Jacob Williams says he will miss the class of 2010, but he also looks forward to the conclusion of his high school years.
"Even though I'm not as close to all the seniors as I would like to be, I still have several good friends from their class," Williams said. "It makes me feel a little bit sad for all the people who are leaving because I still want to be able to hang out with them. But it also makes me feel a little bit excited for when I'm going to graduate."
For more photos of the event, check out Grad girls, The sound of success, Final praise, Highest honors and So adorable, yet so sad.
Austin Ward, Nick Avery, Dana King, Mary Hierholzer and Danielle St. Marie contributed to this article.