Calipatria High Small Class With Big Hearts And Big Dreams

Calipatria High School graduates make their way onto the football field at the start of last Thursday’s commencement exercises for the Class of 2017.

Calipatria High Small Class With Big Hearts And Big Dreams

Calipatria High School graduates make their way onto the football field at the start of last Thursday’s commencement exercises for the Class of 2017.

Some at the Calipatria High School graduation last Thursday said that the best was saved for last.

The 84 seniors who took part in the last commencement ceremony in the Imperial Valley would certainly agree with that sentiment, as did Principal Joe Derma. “It’s been an honor,” he told the graduates. “You’ve been a blessing.” Superintendent Douglas Kline agreed.

“This class has really put Calipatria on the charts,” he said, outlining many of the achievements of the class. Eight seniors graduated with grade point averages of 4.0 or higher. Another 12 placed between 3.5 and 3.99, while 19 more earned a 3.0 to a 3.49. The class had a valedictorian and two salutatorians, and all three spoke of finally being able to break out of their shells and open up as they neared the end of their high school careers.

“High school turned out to be a lot harder than I thought,” Valedictorian Elena Castro Beltran told the crowd of family and friends gathered on Veterans Field. Like Salutatorians Sarai Plata Ramos and Norma Damian Vilchez, she admitted that she didn’t take part in as many school activities as she now realizes she should have. Ramos said that her excellent grades were not just her doing in an emotional speech “Teachers are the most selfless people I have ever met,” she said as she thanked them. Danielle Monica Flores was the recipient of the Helen L. Cox Award, given each year to the graduate who the faculty feels has the best balance of character and scholarship.

Having a relatively small class meant that the slide show and fireworks display at the end of the ceremony could be longer and better than anyone other school’s, and that proved true again this year. The future holds something different for every single graduate, whether it be college or trade school, a career in the military or entering the work force right away. The life lessons they are able to take away from growing up in a small town and going to a small school will remain with them forever though. “Once a Hornet, always a Hornet,” Beltran reminded her classmates.