The Morro Bay High School class of 2010 filed two-by-two Thursday night into the school stadium with heads held high and broad smiles.
The 195 graduates said they were eager to begin their journey into adulthood but vowed to hold close the memories they say they will carry for the rest of their lives.
The sea of blue caps and gowns was met by the cheering of family, friends and staff who helped guide them through their high school years.
A single, empty orange chair sat positioned among the graduating class to represent 17-year-old Dominic Riolo, who died in his sleep in December of natural causes. Students also wore orange pins, Dominic’s favorite color, on their gowns as a remembrance. The crowd shared a silent moment to honor him.
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Sixty-eight percent of the graduates donned honor cords for their top grade-point averages, and nearly 35 percent of the seniors will attend a four-year university. Almost 56 percent of the class plans to attend community college. Seven students will join the military, and four students plan to attend international universities. One senior, Patrick Kelly, will attend West Point.
Valedictorian Gordon Kirby, who will go to Stanford to study mathematics, addressed the crowd and his desires for the graduating class of 2010. Kirby said he hoped that all the students “find a way to do whatever we do best — something we succeed at and enjoy.”
Salutatorian Michelle Garcia encouraged the class to hold tight to their “drive and to never stop believing.”