Future is bright for Blazers
By Patrick Dillon
visalia – There was not an empty seat to be found at Mineral King Bowl last Wednesday, May 31. And it wasn’t because of some big sporting event. Instead each seat was occupied by the families and friends of Golden West graduates sitting on the field as they anxiously waited to receive their diplomas. Overall it was a night that belonged to all the 354 Golden West students who worked for four years to be sitting where they were last week.
Of all the speakers Visalia Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Todd Oto said it best, “You walked in as students but you will leave as alumni.” Later Superintendent Oto added, “Remember where you come from. You are Visalia kids and Golden West collectively.”
Oto moved on and pivoted from his, “Remember where you come from,” theme to focus on the character he’d like to see his students take with them. “If you live your lives as good people, I am confident that good things will happen for you,” he said.
Oto gave three different traits that a good person must have; being able to care for himself/herself, have a positive attitude, and live in the world.
Going on he made the claim that the generation that the graduates were a part of, generation “z,” will one day make up 25 percent of the country’s population. Yet Oto urged the graduates to stay away from the cruelty of the world that they were born into after events such as 9/11.
“Generation Z is the least likely to believe in the American dream,” said Oto. “Golden West class of 2017 your potential is limitless. Be optimistic.”
Soon after Oto left the podium, Principal Jose Fregoso focused on the character of the graduates.
“Character is the moral fiber of your being,” said Fregoso. “You have to combine the knowledge you have acquired with the character you are developing.”
As Fergoso continued with his speech he thanked and congratulated the graduates but the faculty and parents as well. He also encouraged the graduates to take what they have learned from their time at Golden West and use it in the next stages of their lives.
“As you leave here tonight, my hope is that we have instilled in you ‘true education,’” said Fergoso.
Golden West’s class speaker Brianna Simon reminisced about entering high school not knowing where it was going to lead her or how she was going to survive.
“We came in not knowing where we were going but now we know who we are,” said Simon.
Simon also shared some of the struggles that the students, as well as herself, experienced along the way. Such as showing up late for school and trying to find parking, starting an essay five minutes before its due or cramming for a test five minutes before it’s given.
But all in all, now that Simon and her classmates have completed their studies at Golden West she had one final thing to say, “the future is yours.”
From the graduating class 18 students received the Academic Achievement Award for maintaining a 4.0 or higher GPA. In addition 33 students graduated as life members of the California Scholarship Federation and 55 students were honored with the Golden State Seal Merit Diploma Award.