Hundreds of students making up the Lompoc Valley Class of 2019 reflected on their time at the two high schools Thursday afternoon while looking ahead to the future.
At Lompoc High School, more than 300 graduates donned blue and white gowns for the ceremony where Principal Paul Bommersbach reminded them about the value of a diploma.
“So whatever you do, never stop learning, exploring, growing and challenging yourself to be your very best,” Bommersbach said. “Continue to show the Brave Pride wherever life takes you, and don’t ever forget your roots here in Lompoc.”
The most inspirational innovators, athletes, geniuses and icons through history never feared failure, the principal added.
“Instead, they understood that every failure encountered brings you one step closer to that success and that is a natural part of the process,” Bommersbach said. “With that, always remember, the past is your lesson, the present is your gift and the future is your motivation.”
In addition to life advice, speakers shared memories from the past four years on the campus.
Alexander Armond Murkison, senior class president, said that despite moving to Vandenberg Village he chose to attend Lompoc High School, not Cabrillo High School.
“I can’t be more proud of the decision I made,” he said.
He served as class president for two years.
“I don’t know why y’all voted for me because I’m the most extra person ever,” he said, eliciting laughs from his classmates.
Murkison also remembered Tai Bartley by dedicating the school’s 127th commencement to the classmate who died in 2018, but “will always be in my mind and heart.”
Later, Associated Student Body Elizabeth Marie Twomey introduced the Legion of Academic Merit recipients with Bommersbach handling the presentations for the members with the highest grade point average.
Other speakers were Logan Pamela Blanco and Lainey Corinna Ranjo, with distinguished scholar addresses, and Erin Christine Reed McCallon, who gave the Brave Pride address.
“Congratulations, Class of 2019. Now let’s get this diploma, y’all,” Murkison added.
Two hours later in Vandenberg Village, Cabrillo High School marked its 53rd commencement with seniors donning black and gold gowns along with decorated caps.
Shelby Wuitschick, ASB executive president, welcomed the large crowd of supporters and introduced speakers including Danan Pacheo, senior class president.
“Seniors, we finally made it,” Pacheco said. “We started our high school career confused, nervous, excited and little queasy. Now, we entered this next chapter of our lives, pretty much the exact same way.”
During the past four years, Class of 2019 members have grown as scholars and as people, he said.
“But in all seriousness, what we have achieved together is amazing. You should be filled with pride at all that you have accomplished,” Pacheco said.
He recounted “the accomplishments of the amazing, awesome and unstopped Class of 2019,” noting assorted sports achievements in the the new Channel League and extracurricular activities.
Ninety percent of the graduates plan to attend a two-year college or four-year university, Pacheco said, with 11 students enlisting in one branch of the military, four recipients of ROTC scholarships, and one planning to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Class members earned more than $900,000 in scholarships, Pacheco said.
Other speakers were Josh Rowe, senior class treasurer who presented the class gift, Kailani Dial with the scholar address and Kailey McNamee with the “Conquer” address, before Principal Isidro Carrasco addressed the crowd.
During the class trip recently, Pacheco recalled the seniors working together to link together a mass of inner tubes in the lazy river at a water park.
“For one brief special moment in our confusing lives, there weren’t any walls keeping us apart from each other. There were no jocks, no bookworms, no band kids. There was just black and gold, just Cabrillo, just us seniors united as one,” he said.
“Class of 2019, congratulations and best wishes as you find your path in life,” Pacheco added. “We may not know what the future holds for us, but as for me, I will hold on to each and every one of your and call you my friends forever. Together we can conquer anything.”
— Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.