Portola High School Class of 2022 graduates with hope for the future
Gentle breezes filtered through the pine trees over Beckwourth Peak, which helped to provide a warm, pleasant atmosphere at the 2022 graduation on the evening of Friday, June 10 at the Coach Bob Wise Memorial Stadium at Portola High School.
After the processional comprised of 39 graduating seniors, and an appearance by the Veterans of Foreign Wars High Sierra Post 3758 to present the colors, graduate Kaitlin Keena gave an introduction to her fellow graduate, Amirra Evans, who gave a heartfelt rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner.
Amirra Evans also led the highly enthusiastic crowd in the singing of the Portola Tigers fight song. Angelyssia Ibarra-Lira, Kaitlyn Keena and Michael Stewart gave an engaging introduction to the Golden Grads, the Class of 1972. Important trivia mentioned was that a dollar would buy three or more gallons of gas back then, while $3 might buy half a gallon today. Another fun fact? Turning Wolfman Jack on a transistor radio could make for a big evening.
Salutatorians for the 2022 graduation were Cade Wilmer and Sean Sheridan, and the Valedictorian was graduating senior Sophia Dutton.
Wilmer and Sheridan took turns speaking to the assembled families and friends. “To all of our family and friends, classmates and teachers, we would like to thank everyone for being here. This ceremony is both a celebration of what we all have accomplished, and the challenge for us to strive to even greater heights,” Salutatorian Sean Sheridan said. “It was only possible to get where we are today due to the strong support around us.”
Salutatorian Cade Wilmer then said, “We’ve grown here at Portola High more than we ever thought possible. Now that we know we can, we will never stop growing as people. As we move into the next chapter of our lives, we challenge you to do the same.”
Valedictorian Sophia Dutton then spoke, thanking her family for their endless support in reaching that moment, in addition to staff and teachers through all of the years of school.
“I’ve known most of you since kindergarten and some of you since preschool,” Dutton said with a smile. “We’ve made so many memories together. We’ve been together through it all. Now, with this new chapter, it is time to challenge our selves, and keep growing… no matter what.”
Ms. Dutton then introduced the keynote speaker, Portola High School instructor and father Steven Dutton. Graduates were strongly encouraged to travel and learn other cultures and new places, in the keynote speech, so the graduates would be able to return to Plumas County to appreciate the beautiful place where we live. Dutton also encouraged the students to have a passion, and to never compare themselves to others. “Also, learn car and home repair,” Dutton said, to much laughter in the crowd.
He also added that it was important for the graduates to start a retirement fund.
“The experiences that you guys have had have blown me away,” Dutton said to the graduating class. “It is amazing. I want you to remember that you have a very long life ahead of you.”
“It is the most amazing thing to be a teacher and a dad, and I would like you to know that when you came into our lives, you were perfect…at the end of the day, you are perfect. You are everything to us. Remember that we love you here in Portola. I love you all.”
The crowd clapped and cheered, and then a warm, heartfelt thank-you and farewell was voiced by graduating seniors Enrique Flores and Mary Sheridan, which was well-received by the many proud parents in the stands. Jose Aguayo and Ismael Garcia translated the thank-you and farewell into Spanish.
The Plumas Unified School District (PUSD) office was represented by Kristy Warren, who assisted PHS Principal Sara Sheridan and Assistant Principal Brian Sheridan in the ‘handshakes and hugs’ part of awarding diplomas to the Portola High School Class of 2022.
After each graduate had received their hard-earned diploma, students came together once more to cheer their success and toss their decorated mortar boards into the blue sky.
Graduates not previously mentioned above are: Sophia Rayne Alvarez, Jacob Deshaun Brewer, Kaydence Lynn Cokor, Austyn Correll, Donald Clifford Creasey, Parker Dylan Eades, Lucas Markham Helbig, Cooper Faith Domenique Holms, Gabriel Lucas Ismerio, Korey Jermaine James II, Jesus Aaron Jiminez, Klover Anne Kelly, Andrew Tristiano Maddalena, Hallie Marie Mancilla, Jackson Roy Powell, Leilani Anjail Quiring, Jasmine Del Carmen Rivas, Mikayla Jade Robinson-Segna, Hugo Enrique Rocha, Alyssa Marie Jean Ross, Cavian William Sather, Miles Andrew Silva, Michael Joseph Stewart, Cooper Michael Tomczak, Nathaniel Rae Vankol, Ana Karina Vargas-Cardenas, Ignacio Vargas-Gudino, Wesley Legrand West and Cade Lee Wilmer.
Congratulations Portola High School Class of 2022, you did it!