School Matters

Celebrating the Coast Union High School seniors of 2014

Special to The CambrianJune 26, 2014 

Sending 61 graduates into the world beyond high school, Coast Union High School Principal Wade Lawrence passed on a few words of wisdom on June 12. He reminded his graduates that they can accomplish anything with hard work and perseverance. He also reminded them, “Things happen. Accept what you can’t change and move on.”

Then he urged them to put down their digital accessories and have real, face-to-face conversations. He concluded by saying that he believed their deceased classmate, Terry “TJ” Miller, was looking down and smiling that afternoon. TJ’s message would be, “It’s all good!” Those final words could be used to describe the senior class as well.

There are many ways to measure and describe the senior class. Most high schools would be proud of the 96 percent graduation rate or that 93 percent of the graduates will continue their education next year.

Mindful of the cost of education, 39 of the seniors will attend Cuesta College, many with an eye toward transferring after they’ve satisfied their general education requirements. Fifteen will go straight into the UC or Cal State University system. These are all young people who have plans and will make impacts throughout their lives.

But who is this senior class? What is its character? Alex De Alba, Associated Student Body president and president of Interact and the school’s California Scholastic Federation chapters, described what he thinks are the class’ essential traits.

The class is friendly. Most of the students have been together since kindergarten. This tight-knit group has supported each other through many years. De Alba describes his classmates as loving and united. “We can do anything together,” he said.

The class supports the uniqueness of its individuals. From artists to athletes, the students are individuals with a variety of traits.

The class procrastinates. When preparing materials for potential scholarship donors, the applications generally appeared at the last minute. De Alba surmised the bus taking class members to their Senior’s Night at Six Flags would be delayed while his classmates stood in line to clear obligations to the school library.

The class is determined. The group commits and follows through. As examples, when the students were freshmen, they challenged themselves to reach the CIF tournaments in football and baseball. With commitment and hard work, they succeeded in that goal.

The class is caring. The Interact club, raising money through events such as the Rotary cake sale, raised record funds this year. They have contributed these funds to support Terry Miller and Pam Kenyon (a teacher and volleyball coach battling cancer) and have made donations to a homeless shelter, a senior nutrition program, cystic fibrosis research and cancer research (pending). They have also supplemented the various scholarship funds offered to Coast Union students to make sure every class member in need receives something.

The class can make anything fun. At the time of this interview, De Alba was enthusiastic about spending the night at Six Flags with his classmates. By any measure, this senior class is made up of achievers.

They, as with past classes, have benefited from the advantages provided by the small, tight-knit schools of the Coast Unified School District. As they are becoming adults, the students have confidence in themselves and their classmates. This is a time of celebration for them and anticipation of the next group of students who will follow in their footsteps.

Ted Siegler’s “School Matters” column is special to The Cambrian. Email suggested topics to him at soroka@ix.netcom.com.

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