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Grads’ stage day

Garrett Larsen, center, and his fellow graduates applaud during Liberty and Independence high schools' combined graduation ceremony.
Garrett Larsen, center, and his fellow graduates applaud during Liberty and Independence high schools' combined graduation ceremony. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

One hundred seventy-seven newly minted Morro Bay High School graduates Thursday celebrated choices — past and future — before walking across the stage to accept their diplomas.

For Marcelline Rodden, the classes she chose to take enabled her to become class salutatorian. They were also why she did not become valedictorian, she admitted.

She described the Class of 2011 as a group with moxie that chose to come together as a class during its senior year. She encouraged the graduates to make their own choices in life.

Valedictorian Rebecca Radke urged her fellow graduates to choose to be ambitious.

“You can truly accomplish anything with hard work,” she said.

She also showed the value of a sense of humor and modesty. She described herself as someone “who can’t put gas in the car and wants to study abroad in Australia to learn a new language.”

The graduates are having their class party at Magic Mountain park. Radke wistfully acknowledged that the party will be the last time they will be together.

“This is it,” she said.

Principal Dan Andrus continued the theme of choice by urging the graduates to choose a life of kindness and service.

“Choices and actions have consequences,” he said.

He also encouraged them to work hard and play hard. He then left them with this sobering and exciting admonition: “You are no longer children — you are adults.”

— David Sneed

San Luis Obispo

Forty-seven students graduated from Pacific Beach High School on Thursday — the largest graduation class in the school’s history. Jesse Trejo, who will attend Cuesta College, was honored with the Principal’s Award for his work ethic and dedication to the high school’s program.

“He leaves a model student,” Principal Chris Dowler said.

The alternative high school for the San Luis Coastal Unified School District serves students ages 16 to 18 who, for various reasons, have not succeeded in traditional high schools and are at risk of not graduating. Dowler said 2011 marks the highest percentage of graduates that the school has ever had.

— AnnMarie Cornejo

Paso Robles

Two alternative high schools held their graduation ceremonies a day before Paso Robles High School. Liberty High School graduated 89 seniors, while 71 Independence High seniors received diplomas. Neither school honors a valedictorian or salutatorian.

— Pat Pemberton

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