‘There is a lot of heart in this class’: Atascadero and Shandon graduate 261 seniors

Atascadero High School kicked off San Luis Obispo County’s biggest week of graduations on Wednesday with an evening ceremony at Memorial Stadium.

Shandon High School also celebrated its commencement Wednesday on the campus’s West Lawn.

Together, the two North County schools graduated 261 students from the Class of 2019.

“2019 graduates are a very cohesive group of diverse students with varied interests who are accepting of each other,” Atascadero Principal William Neely said in a statement.

“Students are not confined by typical social stereotypes, and they move from sub-group to sub-group unimpeded. There is a lot of heart in this class. Many of our students are focused on how they can move out into the world and have a positive impact.”

image1 (3)
Graduating seniors from the Class of 2019 fill the field during Atascadero High School’s commencement ceremony on Wednesday. David Middlecamp

Atascadero High School

The Greyhounds graduated 245 seniors and three foreign exchange students during Wednesday’s ceremony.

Kyle De Matias was this year’s valedictorian, and Claire Livengood was the salutatorian.

The graduating class received more than 167 local scholarships worth more than $200,000, according to school officials.

Students are moving on to attend four-year and community colleges and to serve in multiple branches of the military.

Most graduates plan to attend in-state schools, including 12 who are headed to Cal Poly. Others will study at Chico State, Fresno State, UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego and Pepperdine University. Forty-five students will also enroll at Cuesta College.

A handful of students also plan to attend out-of-state schools, including Barnard College, University of Oregon, Boise State University and University of Pennsylvania.

Shandon High School

Sixteen Shandon seniors received their diplomas at Wednesday’s graduation.

Alberto Ramirez was this year’s valedictorian, and Lynea Valencia was the salutatorian.

The class of 2019 received $19,400 in scholarships, according to school officials.

Most graduates will be attending Cuesta College, although some will enter the workforce and join local labor unions. One senior also plans to join the U.S. Air Force.

“I am very proud of the class of 2019,” Superintendent Kristina Benson said in a statement. “They have persevered and shown us great skill and an exciting look into the future.”

Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune

Lindsey Holden writes about housing, North County communities and everything in between for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. She became a staff writer in 2016 after working for the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. Lindsey is a native Californian raised in the Midwest and earned degrees from DePaul and Northwestern universities.