VACAVILLE — Trevor McKenzie was so ready for graduation that the Will C. Wood High School senior was lobbying his peers loudly Friday night to get into the field at Tom Zunino Stadium.
“Let’s do this thing!” McKenzie said, getting amused smiles from other graduating students, clustered in the field behind the stadium in their royal blue caps and gowns. “Come on teachers, let’s go!”
Of his own graduation, McKenzie said, “I am so ready.” He said plans to go on mission to Oklahoma for the Mormon church and then to Brigham Young University.
McKenzie was one of 311 graduates of Wood’s Class of 2014 who were handed their diplomas before adoring crowded of parents, family and friends during a warm but breezy evening that made for a more enjoyable ceremony than the one last year that was conduction in triple-digit heat.
“We can handle this,” Wood Principal Cliff DeGraw said during a break while preparing for the ceremony.
Parents Debbie and Jeff Weis were indicative of how the parents felt at seeing their sons and daughters reach this important milestone.
“We are definitely excited for Ryan,” Jeff Weis said of their child.
Graduate Holly Ratzer expressed similar feelings. She said she was excited about reaching the end of four years of high school, including the last year, which she felt “went by really quickly.”
“We are really happy for her,” said her mother, Shelly Ratzer, who made sure to take lots of pictures of their daughter and family to mark the special event.
DeGraw praised the class as being composed of some of the most caring and selfless students he was met, who showed that caring in efforts that ranged from decorating the graves of military members for Veterans Day to sending personal messages to students to show that they mattered to their schoolmates.
“Your legacy is selflessness,” De Graw said. “You made being nice cool.”
Keenan Levens, president of the senior class, told the other graduates they should feel an enormous sense of accomplishment and that they were “starting into something bigger.
“Remember, this as a huge accomplishment and you should dive into life ahead,” Levens said.
Each of Wood’s valedictorians – Joseph Gall, Paige Peck, Akira Shah and Arjun Vadlamudi – shared the valedictorian address.
Vadlamudi advised the other students to “remember your triumphs and not the times you fell and that you will persevere.”
Gall was more lighthearted, saying “if experience is an ingredient, then life is a recipe,” adding that together the graduates made up “the Class of 2014 cookbook.”
Peck and Shah lauded their peers for their commitment to making Wood and Vacaville a better place to live, taking on causes as personal as lifting up another classmate’s spirits to working with parents and others to get Wood a new stadium to allow future Wood Wildcats to be able to graduate at their own school.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.