Yosemite High School’s graduating class of 2018 boasts 23 valedictorians

Yosemite High School seniors gather in the Badger Auditorium as they prepare for their class of 2018 graduation ceremony.
Yosemite High School seniors gather in the Badger Auditorium as they prepare for their class of 2018 graduation ceremony.

Hundreds gathered at Yosemite High School’s Raupp Field on Wednesday, June 13, to rally behind the graduating class of 2018.

The 155 graduates filled the athletic field on a warm evening as onlookers enjoyed a processional by the YHS Band. All were welcomed by first-year principal Regina Carr, who before and during the ceremony spoke to her reverence to be able to share her milestone with the class.

“This class is phenomenal. They are the kindest, most savvy, empathetic kids I have ever had the honor to work with,” said Carr. “They will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Valedictorian Zachary Thach gives his speech at the Yosemite High class of 2018 graduation. Keith Buchanan Special to the Sierra Star

The class produced 23 valedictorians, meaning a student who held a 4.0 or higher grade-point average through their four years at YHS. The valedictorian speaker of the evening was Zachary Thach, who highlighted his interpretation of a Chinese proverb in hopes of inspiring his peers to tackle head-on life’s journey.

Other student speakers included Senior Class President Tiffany Cacy and Vice President Byrce Talbot, ASB President Madilyn Sloas and Vice President Sarah Meeks.

Carr requested students to stand when she called out next-year plans. The majority of students stood when asked who will be continuing their education as they enter a two-year or four-year college next fall. A handful stood to indicate they’ll immediately join the workforce or take a year off. Three students rose to answer who will be joining the military for service and one student joined them when the question broadened to employment with a U.S. governmental organization.

Before the ceremony commenced with the presentation of the diplomas, students Emilie Neff, Vaughn Pierce and Mary Weigel performed an acoustic version filled with melodic harmonies of “Someday” by The Strokes.

Twin sisters, valedictorians and International Baccalaureate full diploma candidates Rachel and Olivia Mattos reflected about their time spent at YHS and the future.

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Olivia and Rachel Mattos take a moment before the ceremony to take pictures with one of their favorite teachers, English teacher Matt Skeahan. Kelly Rausch

“Today marks the reward of a lot of hard work behind us,” said Olivia. Her sister looked ahead and brimmed with possibility. “I am excited about the new beginning in front of us...I just can’t wait,” said Rachel. The two said they plan to start at the University of California at Santa Cruz in the fall.

Additional class valedictorians, who are also California Scholarship Life Members and/or International Baccalaureate full diploma candidates:

Katherine Bayt

Ariana Bhalla

Tiffany Cacy

Brittany Collier

Katrina Conklin

Hannah Hurtado

Benjamin Johnson

Nikki Johnson

Lily Kuykendall

Rachel Loveland

Sarah Meeks

Kendall Miller

Kelsey Montalto

Emilie Neff

Benjamin Negley

David O’Brien

Issac Rumhor

Madilyn Sloas

Dana Vind

Lauren Wharton

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On June 13, 155 students were handed diplomas at Yosemite High School’s graduation ceremony for the class of 2018. Kelly Rausch

Other students who were awarded the California Scholarship Federation Life membership:

Allison Bernardi

Ella Campbell

Sarah Davey

Zane Dufresne

Camille Esposito

Byrce Talbot

Also: Alexia Dahlin graduated as an International Baccalaurete full diploma candidate.