Forty-eight seniors said their goodbyes to Coast Union High School with sentiment, support and more than a touch of humor at a graduation ceremony in Cambria on Thursday afternoon, June 9.
The celebration, which lasted roughly two hours, featured a slideshow of the graduates showing pictures of them as very young children juxtaposed against current photos. As each student received his or her diploma, a speaker told the audience of the graduate’s accomplishments, thank-yous and scholarship information.
Class President Alan Mendez, who led the flag salute and presented the opening address, talked about learning “the most important lesson of all: never bringing food or drink into Mr. Garcia’s class” and told his fellow graduates, “We’ve made it this far, and will make it even further in life.”
Valedictorian Xue DiMaggio, who plans to attend UCLA, urged her classmates to “follow your passions, follow your dreams and see them through to fruition.”
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“As we go on our way, we will flourish and thrive wherever we may land,” she said. “I know we’ll all end up where we’re supposed to be.”
Co-salutatorians Katrina Cleave, Reagan Kniffen and Alexis Mireles took turns reading from a Dr. Seuss-style book of reflections, concluding together with the words, “That’s it, that’s all, this is where we part, but we will always be Broncos at heart.”
Other speakers included graduating seniors Kulia Neves and James Welch, who gave the closing benediction; Danish exchange student Helena Hansen; class President Alan Mendez, who led the flag salute; Superintendent Vicki Schumacher; outgoing principal Jonathan Sison; and guidance director Cheryl Seay.
Hansen recalled her impressions of the United States before she arrived from her native Denmark. “Americans are fat, lazy, only eat fast food and watch TV all the time,” she said. “Coming here definitely proved me wrong. ... I could have landed anywhere in this country, and I landed in this small town. For that I’m very, very grateful.”
Welch concluded the final address of the day with the words, “If Donald Trump can come this close to becoming the next president of the United States of American, then we can do anything.”
The class included 14 California Scholarship Federation life seal bearers, 15 Golden Seal Diploma recipients and five recipients of the State Seal of Biliteracy.
Students also received a variety of scholarships. Graduates will be attending a range of two- and four-year colleges and universities, including Cuesta, Cal Poly, USC, Sonoma State, Oregon State and UC Merced.
The following scholarships were awarded, totaling $107,000:
Jose Abitia — Cambria Anonymous Neighbors (CAN).
Ana Bibiano — CAN, Cambria Historical Society, Estero Bay Women’s Club, Quota International of Morro Bay, University Women of Cambria, WoesteFamily.
Janelle Bohey — Bud and Viv Goff, Joan Sisco-Sullivan, Unitarian Universalist (UU) Community of Cambria.
Connor Chisler — Pewter Plough Players.
Diana Amaro Cisneros — Cayucos Rotary-Seaside.
Katrina Cleave — Allied Arts, Cambria Rotary-Sunset Centennial, John Ruml.
Xue DiMaggio — Allied Arts, CA Art Education Association, Cambria Garden Club, CUHS Bronco Boosters, Elks, Estero Bay Women’s Club, Craig Hurley Memorial Art Scholarship, Mothers for Peace, Cambria Rotary-Friday Lunch, Mary Stenbeck, UU Cambria, University Women, Richard J. Weyrich Leadership Fund-SLO Community Foundation.
Jacob Drew — Bodega de Edgar, Cayucos Rotary-Seaside, Cookie Crock, Cambria Rotary-Sunset Centennial.
Juan Carlos Fernandez de Alba — CSEA Chapter No. 492.
Gerardo Garcia — Anonymous donor, CA Latino Superintendent Scholarship, Cambria Rotary-Friday Lunch, John Ruml, Santa Rosa Catholic Church Men’s Club, Woeste Family.
Miguel Garcia — Cambria Historical Society, Cayucos Rotary-Seaside, Cambria Rotary-Sunset Centennial.
Adrian Gonzalez — Bodega de Edgar, Cambria Historical Society.
Angel Gonzalez — Bodega de Edgar, Cambria Ambulance Employees Association, Donna and Julian Crocker and family, Friday Night Live, UU Cambria.
Arturo Gonzalez — Interact Club.
Camila Hernandez — Interact Club.
Cade Hollingsead — American Legion Auxiliary 432, Cookie Crock, Thaddeus Sherman Lodge 196.
Reagan Kniffen — American Legion Auxiliary 432, American Legion Post 432, anonymous donor, CUHS Bronco Boosters, Estero Bay Women’s Club, Cambria Lions, Cambria Rotary-Friday Lunch, Sophidion, Hollie Stotter Memorial Scholarship, UU Cambria.
Sam Light — Cambria Lions, Ted and Suzy Siegler.
Miguel Lizaola — Joseph F. and Barbara Bania.
Elizabeth “Ellie” Magnuson — AFS, Dave Melendy Scholarship-CUHS Boosters, John Ruml, University Women.
Ashley Martinez — Cambria Lions President’s Scholarship, Pewter Plough Players, Santa Rosa Catholic Church Men’s Club.
Madison May — Joseph F. and Barbara Bania.
Alan Mendez — CA Retired Teachers’ Association Division 86, Dave Melendy Scholarship-CUHS Boosters, Cambria Rotary-Friday Lunch, UU Cambria, University Women.
Priscilla Mendoza — Harvey’s Honey Huts: Jennifer and Harvey Smith, UU Cambria, University Women.
Leticia Mora Mercado — Joseph F. and Barbara Bania.
Max Alexis Mireles — Patty Lu Ballard, CA Latino Superintendent Scholarship, CUHS Bronco Boosters, Cambria Rotary-Friday Lunch, Thaddeus Sherman Lodge 196, UU Cambria, University Women, Richard J. Weyrich Leadership Fund-SLO Community Foundation.
Kulia Neves — Native Daughters of the Golden West.
Rima Panchal — Cayucos Rotary-Seaside.
Roberto Quintero — CA Latino Superintendent Scholarship, Cambria Rotary-Friday Lunch.
Max Rodriguez — Cambria Historical Society, CUHS Bronco Boosters.
Alejandria Segovia — Interact Club.
Paige Spiller — Pewter Plough Players.
Lane Sutherland — American Legion Auxiliary 432, Cambria Garden Club, Cambria Rotary-Friday Lunch, University Women.
Nora Rebeca Tavera Luna — CAN.
Paulina Torres — Joseph F. and Barbara Bania.
Octavio Villalvazo — Darac Goodwin Memorial Scholarship.
James Welch — Allied Arts, American Legion Auxiliary 432, American Legion Post 432, anonymous donor, Santa Rosa Catholic Church Men’s Club, UU Cambria, University Women.
Jacob Wright — Interact Club.
Valedictorian — Xue DiMaggio
Salutatorians — Katrina Cleave, Reagan Kniffen, Alexis Mireles
CSF Life Seal bearers — Ana Bibiano, Janelle Bohey, Cleave, DiMaggio, Miguel Garcia, Cade Hollingsead, Kniffen, Elizabeth Magnuson, Alan Mendez, Alexis Mireles, Rima Panchal, Lane Sutherland, Octavio Villalvazo.
Golden Seal Diploma — Bibiano, Bohey, Cleave, DiMaggio, Jacob Drew, Miguel Garcia, Kniffen, Samuel Light, Magnuson, Ashley Martinez, Mendez, Mendoza, Mireles, Panchal, Sutherland.
Honorary Diploma — Helena Hansen.
State Seal of Biliteracy — Bibiano, Miguel Lizaola, Mendoza, Mireles, Nora Tavera.