The sun may have been hidden by gloomy gray clouds, but the day couldn’t have been any brighter for the 13 Wolfskill High School seniors graduating on Friday, May 25, at the school campus. As the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance” played, the seniors, each wearing the color cap and gown of their choosing, filed through the audience and took their seats as high school students for the last time.
Lead teacher Matt Moran welcomed everyone and congratulated the students on 12 years of hard work. Referring to the saying, “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child,” Moran said, “It takes a community to make a graduate.” He thanked everyone present, from parents to school staff to community members, on their contributions to helping the students succeed.
Each student was personally acknowledged at the ceremony, beginning with Moran.
First to be praised was Ivan Hernandez. Moran said, “No student will ever earn more credits than Ivan,” who amazingly began his years at Wolfskill with no credits at all, but still graduated on time.
“He put his nose to the grindstone,” said Moran. “I have not seen a student keep focused like he kept focused.”
Moran noted that he and Adrian Jimenez “have butted heads” over the years.
“He’s smiling because he’s graduating, and I’m smiling because he’s graduating,” quipped Moran, adding that Jimenez was “one of the most real students I know.”
Next, Moran honored the students who participated in this year’s journalism class and wrote for the school newspaper, the Wolfskill News & Review.”
Dominic Sinkovich, Moran said, “walked in a writer,” and praised him for not only the quality of his writing but also for his courage in taking on some tough topics.
“Dom didn’t hold back in his writing,” said Moran. “You’re an excellent writer and you stand up for what you believe in.”
Next to be spotlighted was Luis Uribe, who wrote exclusively about high-end athletic shoes for the newspaper. Moran said Uribe sometimes questioned the point of being in school, but kept on going to get that diploma, and added that Uribe has “grit.”
Moran noted that Sandy Rico didn’t think she could write and wasn’t really sure if she even wanted to write when she joined the journalism class, and was surprised to learn that she enjoyed writing and was good at it.
“Sandy does not know how smart she is,” Moran told the audience, and then turned to her and said, “Sandy, you are going to go far.”
English teacher Brett Denhalter was next to the podium, and continued the praise for the students.
He noted that Justin Reynolds was always the first one to class, and the first one to get right to work.
“He is one of those people I’m genuinely glad I have gotten to know,” said Denhalter.
Next, he singled out Isaiah Macias, who he described as a “genuinely nice person.” He praised him for the maturity he’s shown while at Wolfskill and his passion.
“When he decides to get things going, he gets going,” said Denhalter.
Denhalter said Daniel Montes was the “mother hen” of the school, always checking in to see who was there and how everyone was doing before digging in to his own work.
“He is a person who cares about people and has a passion for those who are struggling,” said Denhalter, noting that Macias hopes to be a police officer one day.
“He will be one of the best police officers we could ever have,” said Denhalter.
Teacher Greg Wade then took his turn praising the graduates, and declared Jesus Astorga one of his favorite students, and noted that prior to coming to Wolfskill, Astorga “didn’t have an opportunity to shine, but here, he did.”
He expressed appreciation for Omar Ochoa’s “great sense of humor and natural curiosity” and also said that he is a “rising chess star.”
Alexis Delgado, Wade said, is a “crazy for music man,” with a wonderful personality and a philosophical outlook on life, and destined for great things.”
Wade described Lillian Matthews as “tenacious and fun,” and someone who learned about “living life with honesty, integrity and responsibility.”
Moran then returned to the podium to praise one more student, Angel Romero, who was always very quiet in class and focused on his work.
“You put your head down and did your work and didn’t get involved in any classroom shenanigans,” said Moran.
Also taking their turn at the microphone to honor the students were Wolfskill ag teacher Charlotte Kimball, Workability coordinator Jenny Ramos and WPNS president Crystal Apilado.
Following all the accolades, Winters School Board president Robert Warren and Trustee Carrie Green posed for a photo with each student as they were called one by one to accept their diplomas.
Then came the moment the students have been anticipating for much of their young lives: Superintendent Todd Cutler came to the podium to congratulate them, and declare on behalf of the school district and the state of California, that these 13 seniors were now graduates.
Although the weather continued to be cloudy, the brightest part of the day came next as the graduates spread out through the audience to be greeted and congratulated by loving friends and family, and then head off to start the next chapter in their lives.