Wearing smiles as bright as their green ceremonial gowns, graduates of Estrellita High School were the center of attention Wednesday evening. Proud family members clutched balloons and snapped pictures as the school’s principal spoke about diligence, dedication and the importance of staying flexible.
“You always have to have a backup plan,” said Estrellita High School Principal Antonio Lara. “That’s why we are here tonight.”
Lara was referring to the graduation being held inside Galt High School’s gymnasium. The ceremony was to be held at Estrellita High School, but foul weather in the forecast forced it to move indoors.
But the spirits of graduates and their supporters weren’t dampened by the switch. They cheered and blew airhorns every chance the evening gave them. When Lara said the names of family members belonged on the diplomas as well because of their support, the audience erupted with cheers and applause.
Although 106 students graduated from the 2011 class, only 85 were present for the ceremony. The 21 students who were unable to attend were either working, starting a trade school or had enlisted in the military, Lara said.
Lara also boasted an accomplishment for this year’s class: the number of scholarships it earned. The Class of 2011 earned the highest number of scholarships in the school’s history, Lara said.
One of the standouts of Estrellita’s 2011 graduating class is Selina Hernandez. Not only is she the first member of her family to graduate from high school, Hernandez also received three scholarships Wednesday evening, including one each from the Galt Senior Citizens Club and Galt Valley Oaks Grange. Galt Mayor Barbara Payne also presented her with the John Moran Community Service Scholarship and took the opportunity to make a prediction about Hernandez’s future.
“She is going to go far,” Payne said. “And I’m proud to be able to help.”
Hernandez wasn’t the only winner of multiple scholarships. Shelby Diehl and Susana Huerta also took home education grants. Diehl was given $500 from the Galt High Alumni Association and Huerta received the same amount from the Galt Community Scholarship Foundation. Both received $350 from the Estrellita School Scholarship.
Graduate Yareli Armas addressed the students before receiving her diploma and thanked family for keeping her on course. School was never something she enjoyed, she said, but she was pushed to succeed by her mother.
“She was always telling me to go further than she did,” Armas said.
She then turned to the faculty and thanked them on behalf of the students.
“Most of us appreciate what you’ve done,” she said. “And those who don’t will look back someday and realize life could’ve been easier.”