Warriors stand strong, especially after 100 years. That was the theme Thursday when Galt High School graduated its 100th class at Warrior Stadium.
With a mere 207 graduates, the Class of 2012 was quite a bit smaller than in past years, partly due to Liberty Ranch High School's opening. The fact that this group's class was split when they were sophomores did not go unmentioned during the ceremony.
"Not only did we survive losing half our class, may they rest in peace, but also the dreadful senior project that made us stronger," class treasurer Alexandra Herrera said during a reflection speech.
Because of the group's smaller size, not as much room was needed for graduates' families and friends, and they were mostly seated in the bleachers and out of the hot sun. It was a scorching 96 degrees when the 15-minute processional began just before 7:30 p.m.
The unique entry between the tall red numerals 100 allowed each senior to sign the backs of the props before walking between them and being seated. As soon as all of them had taken their folding chairs, colorful beach balls popped out started bouncing over red mortar boards and a lone student blew children's bubbles.
During the senior highlights speech, class officers remarked about the shrinking Class of 2012 and their trips to Six Flags their sophomore year and to Ashland, Ore., this school year.
Herrera recalled how most of the varsity sports this year were played by seniors, a fact fitting for the 100th class, she said.
Valedictorian Alyssa Hurst focused on emulating the school's warrior mascot.
"We are warriors because we don't let anything stop us," she said before turning her attention to her peers. "Each of you is a warrior who can meet your goals."
Many of the graduates decorated their mortar boards with glitter, battery-operated red lights, scrolled notes, or even lined them with white fur that resembled an angel's halo. Others made a statement with fluorescent green high heels and sparkly silver ballet flats.
In the end, interim principal Maria Orr congratulated the Class of 2012 by quoting a popular Bob Dylan song: "May God bless you and keep you ... may you build a ladder to the stars ... may you have a strong foundation when the winds of change shift. May you stay forever young."
Galt High students and alumni spent the school year celebrating the school's centennial. The senior class renamed its library to commemorate the historical year and erected a senior rock on campus.
While 100 years might seem old, the Galt school is not the oldest high school in California. That honor goes to Notre Dame High School in San Jose. The private Catholic school was founded in 1851.
Lowell High School in San Francisco, which opened in 1855, is the oldest public high school west of the Mississippi River that is still operating.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.