Small Town Graduates, Big Dreams

61 graduates crossed the stage at Hamilton High School

Photos by Corey Evan / The Valley Chronicle
61 Bobcats take their seats at the May 23 commencement ceremony.

■ By Corey Evan / Reporter

In California, even a small town can be big. Big enough to serve, small enough to care. Anza, California is no exception, as demonstrated by the graduates of Hamilton High School on Wednesday May 23.
The Bobcat gymnasium was packed shoulder-to-shoulder for the 2018 Commencement Ceremony and filled top to bottom with balloons, banners, and bubbly energy as 61 Bobcat graduates entered the room to the Wolf Hoffmann version of “Pomp and Circumstance”.

Valedictorian Haley Thrapp.

The theme of this year’s graduating class was ‘We Were Here’. Hamilton principal Natalie Ruddell was happy to have them there saying, “It’s been wonderful; The kids, the staff, the community, wonderful to work with…the highlight of this year’s class is that they are very community-driven. A lot of them have done community service within our community. In addition to that…they like their sports.” Ruddell points out a large group of them have taken and passed their AP tests. In short, Ruddell says her daily commute is worth the trips.
Valedictorian Haley Thrapp acknowledged the challenge of being there every day and the challenge ahead: “We’ve spent 13 years of our lives in school and today is the day that ends. Our job and sole purpose for those trying times has been simply going through the daily motions of listening, learning and, let’s be honest, forgetting, and expecting nothing else. We’ve created who we are around the experiences and the people we’ve grown up with and become so accustomed to. But now we are entering a world with completely new experiences and people we’ve never met. Right now it’s our job to find the thing that’s going to push and challenge us daily to live up to our full capabilities.”

Graduates watch a slideshow prepared on their behalf by classmates Samantha Binger and Kaitlyn Dillard.

Students Samantha Binger and Kaitlyn Dillard put together a slideshow, highlighting what each graduate plans to do after high school. Most will leave Anza to pursue those plans, but hopefully all will remember they were here.
Senior class advisor Julie Cope addressed the graduates as anticipated, “You will always be high school graduates. However, there is something else you are taking with you…and that is your self-respect. The instituted basic law of principle states ‘A good name is more valuable than riches, because it cannot be bought with money.’”
After 61 diplomas were delivered to the hands of those who earned them, senior class president Samantha Binger led the turning of the tassels. Then caps filled the air, along with the tune “I was here” by Beyonce. Now that these graduates have passed this milestone, the hope is that next year’s graduates learn from those who were there before them.

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