132 students adorned in red caps and red gowns gathered in Carpinteria High School’s Memorial Stadium to celebrate a rite of passage. Each of them would remember the theme of the ceremony; service and gratitude.
Carpinteria Unified School District Superintendent Diana F. Rigby congratulated the class and thanked the staff of Carpinteria High for their service.
Principal Gerado Cornejo reminded them to never forget the people who had supported them, such as their family, friends and teachers.
“You have not been alone during your educational journey. In the course of your life, you will learn that you do not work alone,” Mr. Cornejo said during the ceremony. “We may think we do, but there is always someone, some people, when you need them the most. Always take a moment and thank those who have been there for you.”
Parts of Mr. Cornejo’s speech were repeated in Spanish.
“Focus on the positive that you will find in each and every person you meet in your life,” Mr. Cornejo said. “Focus on what each of you can offer this community. Work to build the community, your community, to ones even better than it was yesterday.”
Mr. Roberts also reminded what the stadium was named after, pointing to the names of the 20 men who had died in service to the nation, including 14 from World War II.
“They remind us of the service that so many have given for our country. They paid for it with their lives,” Mr. Roberts said. “There are men and women who had served in uniform. That plaque and that sidewalk and this stadium reminds always the value of service.”
He also highlighted several students, such as Carlos Costillo, who was an example of hard work and dedication. The tennis player spent nights and “embodied warrior spirit” when he won a tennis match 7-6 and spent nights working on his game.
“Remember that a difficult task, there are no shortcuts, but your attitude can entirely change the quality of your work and provide a positive outcome,” Mr. Roberts said.
He also highlighted that the Class of 2019 provided 6,000 community service hours, such as volunteering at churches and the Boys & Girls Club.
Carpinteria High was also the first high school to require community service hours, according to Mr. Roberts.
Mr. Roberts also quoted students who loved their time and wished to thank their teachers and supporters. He also highlighted the clubs they helped to create, such as the Gay and Straight Alliance and the Paws with a Cause.
“Class of 2019, you were at your best so many times when you served your fellow students and others.”
Salutatorian Amy Perez thanked the staff for providing a clean and safe environment for the students to learn and grow.
“We could have not completed high school without a clean and safe learning environment our custodians and security [provided],” Ms. Perez said, also thanking the parents and teachers.
“I am proud to say, and I believe the class of 2019 would agree, that I attended Carpinteria High School.”
She also praised Carpinteria High’s location, staff and students.
“I have trust that all of you will flourish in whatever community you will find yourself in. Believe in yourself and the skills you have acquired. Have pride in the past and trust in the future,” Ms. Perez ended.
Valedictorian Kathyrn Cleek also thanked everyone who attended the graduation ceremony and said that they couldn’t have done it without them.
“Our perspective on life at CHS has drastically changed from the second we step foot on this campus and the moment we leave behind our legacy behind.”
Ms. Cleek also challenged the graduates to take advantage of their time and to live each moment as if it were their last. She also gave some words of advice.
“Be intentional in your interactions with people, whether you’re just meeting someone new at orientation or you have dinner with your childhood friend, actively listen to one another,” she said. “Be a risk-taker.”
She also highlighted the senior classes accomplishments and the goodbyes they were saying to each other, but she also wanted the graduates to say goodbye to their old selves.
“At CHS we may have accomplished great heights and we may have made great mistakes, but through it all, the vital part about leaving this campus today is to let go of whom we may have been in the past and instead leave the stadium, striving to be the best version of ourselves,” she said.
Carpinteria High School also recognized Ed Rubio and Mr. Roberts, while several students were Gold Cord Recipients and Sealbearers.
When the students were handed their diplomas, the crowd rumbled and cheered. Several times, confetti would pop and fall across the tracks and stomps and shouts would echo across the football field. Students from Carpinteria High will go forth to new lives and new worlds. Some attend UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College, just a few miles away from the small and tight-knit city that they grew up in. Others will venture across the nation and attend universities such as the University of Tennessee and Bentley University.
But each of them will remember where they come from.