“It’s a Beautiful Day,” the song and the event, rang out across Jaguar Stadium Thursday, June 11 as the Valley Center High School Class of 2015 commenced its Commencement Exercises.
Some 2,500 to 3,000 friends, families and supporters overflowed the stadium’s bleachers, lined the newly installed field turf in white chairs and otherwise took in the 15th Valley Center High School Commencement ceremonies.
They would enjoy an hourlong ceremony with all the appropriate speechifying and musical ensembling along with diploma awarding and various celebratory measures to be sure. Tri-valedicatorians, James Schwindt, Jaysa Schwindt and Suzannah Henderson did their thing.
The VCHD Band launched into “The National Anthem” and “Pomp and Circumstance” while senior members of the choir performed “See You Again.” Doves of Love eminence grise Larry Zetterquist released his white homing pigeons who flocked back to his nearby home. Balloons and bouquets filled the air.
Saying goodbye to all that
VCHS principal Ron McCowan presented the class to Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District superintendent Mary Gorusch. VCHS teachers John Ward and read graduate’s names as VCPUSD trustees passed out diplomas.
Family and friends were stoked, to say the least. Crowds streamed up Cole Grade Road in what represented the largest annual gathering of people in Palomar Country, this side of the casinos. With so many hundreds of vehicles and limited parking at the school, vehicles lined the road for a mile, or more.
So many vehicles and so much attention focused at the ceremony did leave to an unfortunate sidebar. An unlucky seven vehicles reportedly were vandalized with windows smashed and belongings stolen. Anyone with information pertaining to the incident was urged to contact the Valley Center Sheriff’s Office at (760) 751-4400.
That aside, a long line of well-wisher lined the walkway into the stadium passing along tickets for stadium seating. Early arrivals were able to sit on white wood chairs on the field while others packed the stadium.
How excited were they?
“My daughter Micah DeAnda is graduating,” said a proud Glenda Deanda, who along with husband Mike Deanda were on their fourth VCHS graduate with a couple more in tow for future commencements.
Waiting in the line that stretched from field to high school auditorium to get in a beaming Deanda, added, “I think it’s great. It’s pretty exciting.”
You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here
Those wanting to go where the action was, however, duly noted the gathering of the class before the grand march into the future. Seniors flocked together as group to share tall tales, and sometimes taller hats, exchange well tidings and prepare for the final send-off into space.
Valley Center High School guidance counselor Leigh Dick waited with the other teachers and site administrators, decked out in flowing black robes, traditional caps and tassels.
“It’s awesome, as they’re all saying goodbye” Dick said, referring the crowd of graduates gathered on the baseball field before making their final procession as a class through Jaguar Stadium. Then, ever the guidance counselor, Dick continued,”although it could be a rude awakening for some of them.”
However, Dick quickly added, “Eighty percent of them have a pretty good idea where they’re heading after they leave here.
History teacher Howard Fraser, a veteran of all 15 VCHS commencement, searched the field for senior scholars. He had a dozen special honors medallions they would wear during the great occasion.
“Sometimes classes are a bit smaller or larger,” Fraser said, “but the day never changes in terms of its meaning and power.”
Class of 2015 final hijinks
Meanwhile, Nicole Green, Elizabeth O’Brien and Marco Armenta cavorted on the infield, happy to be free, at last. thank God almighty, free at last. Greene is headed to Loyola Marymont, O’Brien heads to Northern Arizona, and Armenta giddy-ups to UCLA by way of Mira Costa.
I really want a balloon,” Greene said. Added, O’Brien, tongue in cheek, “I’m excited, I’m going to watch TV later.” Armenta? “I’m going to do some anime’,” he said, referring to a kind of Japanese computer animated production. “It’s a lifestyle.”
One of the Top Ten Distinguished Scholars, all straight-“A” students, and dressed in white robes standing out kind of like with Gladys Knight amongst the Pips, Nina Montejano, said, “It’s going to be a great night,” even as “It’s a Beautiful Day” rang out across the land.
Kyle Xu held court with a veritable Lego village and “2015” atop his graduation cap. This must have made sense to his friends because it left grizzled graduation veterans shaking their heads when asked the reason for the cap.
“You know, Ed Sheeran and the song ‘Lego House,'” Xu said somewhat annoyed. “I’m really into his music.”
It was their day after all, so whatever they said, went.