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San Luis Obispo High School graduation: Embracing their futures

Graduate Kelsey Gibbs gets a big hug from her kindergarten teacher, Daria Hernandez, during the San Luis Obispo High School graduation ceremony Friday.
Photo by Joe Johnston 06-18-10
Graduate Kelsey Gibbs gets a big hug from her kindergarten teacher, Daria Hernandez, during the San Luis Obispo High School graduation ceremony Friday. Photo by Joe Johnston 06-18-10 Tribune

Members of the San Luis Obispo High School class of 2010 accepted their diplomas and turned tassels at a commencement ceremony Friday, saying they were ready to embrace the future and the journey that awaits them.

Sitting together in white chairs on the school’s football field, the 340 graduates shared last-minute hugs, cheers and laughter.

Hundreds of family, friends and supporters welcomed the students wearing mortarboards and gowns with a standing ovation, waving and hoping to catch their graduate’s eye.

The cheering from the crowded bleachers and those lining the track around the field could be heard echoing in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Senior Bethany Donaldson, the commencement speaker, cautioned students to “remember our roots … branch out … but don’t forget about the memories here.”

Salutatorian Maya Land will attend UC San Diego to take classes in marine biology and foreign language. She said she’d hold close memories of the 24-hour relays and the school dances.

Valedictorian Alessandra Moscoso plans to attend Harvard University to study bioengineering. Her greatest high school memory happened during her senior year when the soccer team she played on made it to the CIF quarterfinals and Principal Will Jones led the crowd in singing “We are the Tigers.”“Do the thing you love, and chase after it passionately,” Moscoso told her classmates.

The entire stadium cheered as one student walked across the stage to receive her diploma. Ivy Alvarado, who suffered cardiac arrest in the summer of 2008, graduated after studying with a home-hospital teacher during more than a year of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy to regain her ability to speak and walk.

She was meant to graduate a year ago but was convalescing from the cardiac arrest that doctors originally thought would leave her with severe brain damage.

On Friday, the senior class cheered for her as if she were always with them.

White doves were released to the sky after the last diploma was given.

The graduates will attend colleges across the nation — from Seattle University to Columbia University in New York City. Many will stay in California, with 30 attending Cal Poly, 12 going to UCSB and 10 attending UC Davis. Locally endowed scholarships of more than $125,000 were awarded to 80 students.

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