BALDWIN PARK – Amid cheering from parents, the blaring of horns and even the occasional firework blast, Sierra Vista High School celebrated the commencement of 429 graduates during an evening ceremony on May 31.
“We present to you the Class of 2018,” Interim Principal H. Vincent Pratt announced to one of many rounds of cheers. “You shook up the world and will continue to do so.”
Of the 429 graduates, more than 350 will pursue higher education at seven University of California campuses, 12 California State University campuses, California community colleges and such nationally known private schools as USC, Mount St. Mary’s, University of La Verne, Carnegie Mellon and Azusa Pacific University.
Sierra Vista graduates will also enlist in all branches of the U.S. armed forces and attend trade and technical colleges.
Senior Class President Katherine Vu said the ceremony marks the beginning of a new journey.
“We began high school as children, but today we’re leaving as young adults. High school was one of the biggest factors in the making of who we are. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s dreamt of walking across this stage; it means a lot to all of us – the first major milestone in the path of our inevitable successes,” she said.
“After this, we’ll all go our own separate ways, but no matter where each of us go, we all have one thing in common, the beginning of our stories started here,” she said.
Associated Student Body President Litzy Muñoz said her classmates made her who she is today.
“I would not be the same person I am today if it wasn’t for everyone I met on this campus,” Muñoz said. “Thank you to everyone who has come into my life these past four years. Each and every one of you had a significant impact on me.”
This year there were two valedictorians for the Class of 2018, each earning a 4.69 GPA: Trish Vy Lam will attend UC San Diego and Cindy Yulisa Berganza will attend UCLA. Salutatorian Hui Xian Zhou, who earned a GPA of 4.66, will attend UCLA.
Lam urged her classmates to recognize their impact on each other.
“You have made a change in the school and in my heart. Look around you, you have made a change in someone else’s life. That is how powerful you are and you best believe that you will take that power into the future and make something beautiful out of it,” she said.
“We are worthy and deserving of it all. So, dream and wish with all your heart,” she added. “Life isn’t meant to be easy. But you are capable. You will be able to handle whatever comes. Learn and grow and, most importantly, be happy. I cannot wait to hear what outstanding things you will be achieving in the future and to hear of the happiness you harnessed through each step towards it all.”
Berganza remembered how daunted she was as a freshman.
“I remember walking into this school back in 2014. I was terrified but thrilled to start high school. It was the newest chapter in our book, and we couldn't wait to start it. Little did we know that we’d finish this chapter so fast. These four years hit us like a truck, but we made it,” she said.
“As we graduate today, we will face many difficult decisions, in both the near and distant future. Our decisions will make a statement and will resonate with the people that we grew up with. Regardless of where we end up, Sierra Vista paved a road to our own success and greatness.”
Zhou told graduates to prepare for failures.
“Failure is bound to be part of your journey. Treat failure as a teacher, a motivator. If you want to impress a teacher, what would you do? You start trying. Well, same concept. You need to try no matter how slim the chance is because the chance of success is always zero if you don’t try,” she said.
BPUSD_SVHS_1-4: Sierra Vista High School’s Class of 2018 celebrated its commencement on May 31.