Yosemite High graduates 160 students

awileman@sierrastar.comJune 10, 2014 

On Friday June 6, the Yosemite High School Class of 2014 took their final steps as Badgers and began preparation to enter the "real world."

The YHS faculty and staff presented more than 160 graduates with diplomas during the two hour celebratory ceremony

After four years of hard work and dedication, those same graduates will be faced with the even more difficult task of entering the work force, making the journey to pursue a higher education or, in a few instances, serving this great country in the military.

To the delight of many, much of the community has had the pleasure of watching these young men and women grow from the time they first entered the Yosemite Unified School District more than 10 years ago.

Like an investment, many families have dedicated much of their time, income and patience over the years to ensure these students were given every opportunity possible to be the most successful and contributing members of society following their graduation from high school and into the world.

Now those same parents, friends and community members will anxiously watch as their time and dedication spent molding those young minds will transition into success as future top-level execs, mechanics, philosophers and engineers.

Looking back for the seniors there is much to be proud of. This year's class was a special class and featured many unique accomplishments. From helping win the Madera County Academic Decathlon for the 21st consecutive time, under the guidance of Steve Browning, to presenting psychology experiments to Stanford University and leaving behind a series of senior projects that won't be forgotten, members of this class can hold its head high.

Yosemite High School Principal Randy Seals, who had the honor of of sharing his experience as a first time principal at YHS, presented diplomas to the same students whom he helped prepare, and helped prepare him, for the future.

Seals said he is honored to be a part of such a profound class of students he believes will be an intricate part of the this nation's great future.

"This school year has produced so many amazing accomplishments, led by the campus leaders receiving their high school diplomas tonight," Seal said. "The Class of 2014 is made up of champions who have demonstrated excellence in academics, athletics, theater arts, music, agricultural welding, choir, science fair, and so much more."

Throughout the night several students gave encouraging speeches to their fellow classmates including the valedictorian Michael Neff who challenged his colleagues to reach for the stars.

"The capabilities we have acquired in high school have offered us unlimited opportunities, and by graduating we have earned the freedom to take those opportunities," Neff said during his speech. "We are free to accomplish the most ridiculous and cliche dreams we had as children."

Making a special appearance during Friday's graduation, bringing heart-felt tears to the eyes of many, was a member of the U.S. Navy and YHS graduate Mario Robert Ramirez, who surprisingly graced his sister, Angelina Clark, with his presence.

With special help from the YHS staff Clark, who recently lost her father and had not seen her brother in more than a year, was surprisingly greeted by Ramirez on her way to the podium to receive her diploma.

"Our Dad recently passed away and I know that my sister would have loved to have him there, so it meant a lot to me to show and surprise her with my arrival," Ramirez said.

Ramirez, who plans to attend Palmer School of Chiropractic in San Jose, had recently returned from being stationed at the naval base in Yokosuka, Japan.

Following graduation, as a way to celebrate their birth into the "real world," many of the seniors made the short trip up the hill to Camp Oakhurst to participate in the Sober Grad.

This year's Sober Grad was held at Camp Oakhurst and was put together solely by the individual efforts of parents and volunteers from YHS and the surrounding community.

Because of recent budget cuts and the lack of funding the school announced this year that it would be unable to provide and adequate budget to maintain the annual sober grad event. This placed the fundraising squarely on the shoulders of parents and community members.

Despite an otherwise difficult task, and limited time to acquire the necessary funds to give the students one last night together, the team of parents and community members, coordinated by Kimberley Smith, raised more than $13,000 with the idea of leaving $1,500 for next year.

Fundraising events included a Pancake breakfast which raised more than $2,500 and countless donations from community members and parents.

Smith said despite the timing factor, the fundraising went well and she was happy to have the support from the community.

"We want to thank the community, parents ad everyone that helped volunteer to make this happen. We could not have done it without them," Smith said.

The night consisted of pizza, sandwiches, s'mores, card games, bingo, paintball, rope swing, and more.

In the spirit of Sober Grad, Throughout the night, California Highway Patrol provided a street sobriety test simulation, requiring those who participated to wear a pair of goggles designed to distort the wearer's vision and simulate drunkenness; a simulated driving experience which consisted of a computerized electric go-kart controlled by CHP officer Steven Lewis from Mariposa, simulating impaired driving; and a recently produced video of the Every 15 minutes which is a program designed to show the impact and raise awareness of drunk driving.

2014 YHS Graduates

  • Nicholas Adelizi
  • Hope Akubue
  • Anthony Archer
  • Erin Asis
  • Benjamin Avena
  • Jocelyn Bachman
  • Austin Bain
  • Victoria Bartunek
  • Danielle Borreson
  • Cody Boyd
  • Allison Boyer
  • Christian Broussely
  • Cayla Burnheimer
  • Jacob Caldwell
  • Stephen Camarena
  • Javier Campos
  • Stewart Carlson
  • Destany Caywood
  • Angelina Clark
  • Carson Conti
  • Jared Cordingly
  • Steven Corpus
  • Raven Daniels
  • Jill DeGrasse
  • Joseph DePaz
  • Harley DesLaurier
  • Brooke DiFiore
  • Sierra Dominici
  • Tasha Dragoo
  • Christian Drosche
  • Robert Drosche
  • Angela Du
  • Jensen Eames
  • Lauren Ecklund
  • Codi Elam
  • Nikolaus Espinosa
  • Eirena Ewert
  • Brent Ezell
  • Yasmin Figueroa Castellanos
  • Jacqueline Flaherty
  • Jeffrey Foster
  • Jenna Franke
  • Mason Gaynor
  • Victoria Glanzer
  • Rebecca Glick
  • Athena Graham
  • Chasen Grocholski
  • Bryan Guilliams
  • Kailyn Hammerling
  • Zachary Harlow-Lopez
  • Donovan Harmon
  • Taylor Harshbarger-Sherwood
  • Benjamin Hartesveldt
  • Brenna Hatfield
  • Alexandria Herdman
  • Gabrial Hernandez
  • Tanner Holechek
  • Sophia Horton
  • Brittney Hughey
  • David Ibarra
  • Donovan Iverson
  • Kenneth Jeffris
  • Cheyenne Johnson
  • Brandi Jones
  • Briona Jones
  • Whitney Juras
  • Arvin Krause
  • Megan Kroon
  • Kevin Lauterbach
  • Jordan Lawrence
  • Devin Lee
  • Rebecca Levee
  • Mariah Lincoln
  • Lance Litten
  • Dylan Lopez
  • Yvonne Luna
  • Alejandro Luna Duenas
  • Robert Magee
  • Vanessa Majeno
  • Tiala Manning
  • Justise Martin
  • Dillan Masai
  • Rylie McConnell
  • Mikayla McCoy
  • Dillon McCully
  • Chance McGee
  • Sarah McKissack
  • Phillip McLean
  • Hannah McMechan
  • Alex Mears
  • Zachary Meier
  • Alexander Mello
  • Brittany Merillat
  • Leonardo Meza
  • Brittany Mihall
  • Dominique Misa
  • Kayla Mitchell
  • Bailey Moe
  • Leandra Moisant
  • Cameron Monahan
  • Mathew Moneymaker
  • Porfirio Morales
  • Anthony Moreno
  • Kaley Mumm
  • Hunter Murphy
  • Michael Neff
  • Janae Nelson
  • Edward Nixon
  • Stephanie Pardue
  • Page Peterson
  • Eurasia Philley
  • Shelby Pisel
  • Gabriel Ponce-Carson
  • Devon Potter
  • Zoe Powell
  • Azani Pusina
  • Tyrus Ramos
  • Hugh Reid
  • Tristan Rhoan
  • Blake Riggs
  • Kiersten Riggs
  • Torree Riggs
  • Lisa Robichaux
  • Selina Robinson
  • Jordan Rose
  • Aaron Rowe
  • Thomas Rowlodge
  • Victor Salazar Gonzalez
  • Cassandra Salisbury
  • Regan Samora
  • Mason Sandoval
  • Camden Sauceda
  • Adam Scott
  • Andrew Selbicky
  • Andrew Shapiro
  • Anthony Shimer
  • Kaitlyn Sikora
  • Alek Simpson
  • Ericka Smith
  • Ryan Smith
  • Trevor Smith
  • Issac Soliz
  • Katelyn St. Laurent
  • Brett Stanfield
  • Craig Stieler
  • Derrick Stier
  • Erik Strauss
  • Mia Summers
  • Nicole Tapia
  • Andrew Tuttle
  • Michael Van Zant
  • Janeen Varian
  • Pedro Villa
  • Julia Walsh
  • Sharon Warmerdam
  • Tristan Webb
  • Andrea Whitcomb
  • Benjamin Williams
  • Nathan Williams
  • Liam Womack
  • Jared Wood
  • Sara Wood

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