VACAVILLE — The 119th Vacaville High School graduation ceremony at the Tom Zunino Stadium on Saturday was filled with the smell of flowers and happy graduates eager to take their first steps into the adult world.
The 443 graduates dressed in white robes, and some in black robes, were greeted with horns and cheers as they walked down two rows of school faculty. Most people wore sunglasses, some wore flower leis and others honor sashes around their necks.
For Brad Bero of Vacaville and his friend Tyler Conner it was an exciting day. Bero wore large oversized 2014 silver glasses with a lei around his neck. He is looking forward to attending the College of the Siskiyous in Weed.
“I’m majoring in baseball. I want to play pro-ball in the future,” he said.
His summer is going to be filled with baseball and hanging with his family before he leaves in the fall.
Conner plans to attend Solano Community College.
“I want to become an EMT. My dad is a firefighter and that is what I want to do, too,” Conner said.
He plans to hang out with his friends, then in a few weeks go to New York City with them and his family for a vacation.
“It is going to be a great summer,” he said.
Principal Ed Santopadre promised a short speech because of the heat and he fulfilled the promise to the applause of the crowd.
“I am happy this class is leaving the school a better place than when they found it,” Santopadre said.
He will fondly remember this class as being the one that was most prepared for college, and the students’ kindness and generosity toward himself and each other.
To start the speeches, Senior Class President Julia DePonte took a selfie with her cellphone and gave a shout-out to her grandparents.
Valedictorians Sarah Case, Lauren Freese, Sean Pierce and Breanna Sewell shared the stage, each giving a small speech.
“I am proud to acknowledge the accomplishments of this class,” Case said.
Pierce spoke about perseverance through the tough times and being able to be a steady rock moving forward despite feeling like giving up at times.
The family of Sarah Betchtel, daughter of Varsity Coach Jeff Christian, cheered her on from the sidelines, happy to see her graduating. Her sister, Capri Anna Christian, says she is glad to see her sister off to college.
“We are very excited for her,” said Susie Cooper, Betchtel’s aunt.
Her other sister, Beronica, echoed that sentiment.
“We are going to have a barbecue afterward, and a big party,” Beronica said.
Betchtel plans to attend school at Olivet Nazarene University in Chicago.
The ceremony ended with the students receiving their diplomas, and giving a toss of their hats.
Reach Susan Hiland at 427-6981 or firstname.lastname@example.org.