SOLEDAD — Purple gowns and caps and plenty of smiles marked the end of a four-year journey for the Soledad High School Class of 2019, which celebrated its graduation Saturday morning at Gene Martin Stadium, where about 373 seniors walked across the stage to receive their diplomas.
Graduates made their entrance into the stadium filled with teachers, administrators, parents, siblings and friends. Soledad Aztecs NJROTC presented the colors, while graduate Maricarmen Gonzales sang the National Anthem at the June 8 ceremony.
Principal Jeffrey James welcomed the graduates and attendees by introducing Superintendent Tim Vanoli, School Board Trustees, Monterey County Office of Education Superintendent Deneen Guss and Soledad City Council Member Carla Stewart.
Soledad High School Class of 2019 had two salutatorians, Skylah Fregoso and Angela Alfaro.
“We all had to go through countless challenges both inside and outside of school to get here today, but we did get through them and congratulations for that,” Fregoso said. “If there is one thing I am going to take from my high school experience, and you should too, is how to overcome any and all obstacles without letting anything get in the way of what it is you want to do.”
Fregoso has been accepted into the University of Chicago.
“This past month has been filled with so much activity and so much celebration, it has been difficult to keep up with all the commotion, or at least it has been for me,” Alfaro said. “Some of us plan to attend different educational institutions, such as technical and vocational schools, community college, public schools and private schools.”
Some of the graduates from Soledad will join the Armed Forces to make a major contribution to this country, such as Brian Sanchez-Lopez. Others will go straight into the work force.
Alfaro is planning to attend the University of California at Berkeley in the fall and become an architect.
The top honor of valedictorian went to Roberto Guillen.
“You may be asking yourself, ‘How will I leave my mark?’” Guillen said. “This is a question each individual can only answer themselves. When figuring this out, we should always remember that we are unique, and wherever we may go, we were once a Soledad Aztec.”
According to Guillen, the Class of 2019 is one of the most competitive classes in Soledad’s history, with so many students headed to UC Berkeley.
“We all have a purpose and many of us may not know it yet,” Guillen said. “But one thing is for sure, as a class, I believe our purpose is to be the generation that makes Soledad more than the Gateway to the Pinnacles.”
View more photos in the South County Graduation Section in the June 12 issue.