As the killdeers chirped in the distance and their forest green gowns flapped in the Delta breeze, members of the 2010 graduating class of Estrellita High School were commended for their diligence, hard work and discipline.
"I have no definition for this class," said principal Antonio Lara. "They have surprised me time and time again."
The graduating class was initially supposed to be 84 students, but 104 persevered and were able to graduate, Lara said. Estrellita is Galt's continuation high school. Many of the students who graduated came from other schools and had to work hard to catch up, he said.
"This graduation demonstrates your stick-to-itiveness and ability to go day-to-day," said teacher Brendan Moore.
Several students were awarded scholarships and school awards at the hour-long celebration in which friends and loved ones cheered and blew air horns.
Bryan Kloberdanz was awarded a $5,000 scholarship from ITT Technical Institute and a $500 scholarship from the Galt Valley Oaks Grange. Kloberdanz will attend ITT Tech in the fall, and said during his speech to the audience that the educators supported him and helped him thrive. He owed all his achievements to them, he said.
"I'd like to thank them for not suspending me as much as they should have," he said, drawing laughter from the more than 200 in attendance.
Hayley Chappell also received multiple scholarships. Chappell was given a $750 scholarship from the Galt Lions Club, as well as a $500 scholarship from the Galt High Alumni Association.
Edgar Gutierrez plans to pursue a degree in criminal justice from Kaplan College and would like to be a district attorney. Completing the independent study program at Estrellita gave him a sense of accomplishment, he said.
"Before I came here, I wasn't expecting to graduate," he said. "I realized I had to get it together. It feels great."
Anissa Glover was presented with a citizenship award for her positive attitude and willingness to help others. As Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'," blared in the background after the ceremony, her mother said she was proud of her achievements.
"She's very strong-willed," said Tina Glover. "It says a lot about her character. She knew she needed to do it for her daughter."