“It went pretty well,” said student Aerfan Fallah. “They made it honorable and dignified. It felt good to be there.”
Thirty students were suspended Monday after they left paint footprints and other markings on school grounds, tied a sheep to a pole, stole banners and moved a bench, according to Heritage principal Larry Oshodi. On Thursday, the number of suspended students increased to 50.
Many of the 370 students who participated in the ceremony expressed gratitude for the place where life lessons were learned. “To be respected and loved as an Afghan in this community is one of the greatest lessons of my life,” said Salutatorian Zainab Taymuree. “Don’t ever be afraid of those who seem different than you. Look around at all the students, all the beautiful races. We are diverse, but we all have the same beautiful smiles.”
In his first commencement speech as principal of Heritage, Oshodi said the school strives to instill core values that he hopes students will carry into their lives. “You have reached a significant milestone and are ready to begin the next leg of the amazing race that is your life,” Oshodi said.
After spending more than 700 days as high schoolers, the students were ready to party, but not before important moments in their journey were remembered with laughs and a few tears.
A somber moment pervaded the ceremony when it was announced that P.E. teacher Sandie McKillip had lost her battle against cancer earlier this week. Commencement began with a moment of silence, and the senior band and choir performed “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire in her honor.
With McKillip on the minds of many, the hard work and dedication of teachers was a constant theme among speakers. “These people made it their lives to give up themselves to improve those around them,” said Liberty Union High School District Superintendent Eric Volta.
Student Michael Kintscher said the Heritage Class of 2012 would be remembered as the one that overcame budget cuts that affected arts, sports and staffing levels. “We have struggled over these mounting barriers, and yet we still stand,” Kintscher said.
About 190 members of the Class of 2012 will take scholarships with them on the road to college. And as a parting gift, the class bought two banners for the school's football stadium and contributed funding to campus groups.
Before and after the formal ceremony, rumors swirled around the stadium about an alternate graduation taking place for the suspended students at an unknown location. “I don’t have any facts about that, so I cannot comment,” Oshodi said when asked about the alternate graduation.
The Heritage High School Class of 2012 graduates are Jacob Ronald Abfalter, Tereese Nawal AbuHamdeh, Miguel R. Aguiar, Sabah Nadeem Ahmed, Andrew Ahumada, Sufian Jacob Alani, Miranda Michelle Alcantar, Brianna Renee Alicea, Jessica Marie Anaya, Madison Ann Applegate, Thalia Mireya Arredondo, Jaszmyn Symone Arsenault, Jacob James Arvizu, Maxwell James Ashcroft, James Michael Ashton, Monica Michelle Avalos, Jorel Avila, Jeffrey Robert Bahns, Dalton Robert Barnes, Caitlin Jeanne Baroody, Stefanie Lisette Baxley, Joshua Jeffrey Baxter, McKenna Ann Beecroft, Brandon Scott Beimborn, Brooke Marie Bell, Ryan Thomas Bell, Sofia Thérèse Bianchi, Michelle Christene Bina, Kaitlyn Noelle Biondi, Paul C. Blackburn, Sadie Eliese Bledsoe, Markel Blot, Alexander Bologna, Joseph Bologna, Jonathan Antonio Borroel, Brandie Marie Bowen, Antonio Ricardo Bowman, Liana Beth Bowyer, Michael C. Boyd, Ashley Reneé Boyle, Aliyah Shelon Bradley-Johnson, Jade Lee Ann Bray, Kurtis A. Briggs, James Bruce Briner III, Matthew Stephen Brown, Ryan Christopher Brown, Hana Megan Bruno, Hallie Nicole Bryan, Michelle Inez Bryant, Rebeca Alexis Burgos, Anastasia Chantel Burton, Janette Berenice Bustos, Jessica Marie Butalla, Colin Alexander Buxton, Erica N. Calderon, Thomas Daniel Camara, Chloe Reid Campbell, Jacob Brian Campbell, Alisa M. Campos, Caitlin Ann Cardoza, Ryan Joseph Carlisle, Carlos Anthony Carrillo, Nicole Marie Casperson, Jacob Aaron Catala, Luis-Gabriel Nicolas Charvet, Joshua Steven Chinn, Stephanie Nicole Chinn, Margaret Elizabeth Clancy, Ke Jhan D. Clayton, Tyler Craig Connell, Austin Glen Contreras, Taylor Monique Contreras, Christopher Don Cook, Travis Wesley Cook, Camille Ardales Corpus, Cassandra Ardales Corpus, Brianna René Correa, Amanda Cota, Adam Benjamin Craig, Eric Christopher Cranfield, Zackary Michael Crosley, Natasha Gabriella Cruz, Sommer Ashlee Dalton, Braden Thomas L. Daniels, Megan Lynn Darling, DayJahnay Shantay Davenport, Devon J. David, Kenneth William Davis, Damon Andrew Deaver-LaRue, Ramon Daniel DeLeon, Carla Delgadillo, Cheyanne Marie Dennis, Adrian Daniel DeVaudreuil, Jaspradeep Singh Dhaliwal, Hannah Elizabeth Dillman, Emilee Rae Divinagracia, L. J. Ryan Dollente, Suellen Yuquiel Dominguez, Brittany Marie-Faye Dowell, Mikaela Marie Downey, Daniella Josephine Eva Dubon, Carter Duong, Melina Mae Duterte, Thomas A. Dutra, Anna Elise Dutton, Tyler Andrew Eelsing, Ty Jeffery Elder, Rebecca Lynn Ellingson, Erin Nicole Elm, Wayne Russell Engelstad, Dorothy Kim Enomoto, Sebastian Alexander Ernest, Benjamin Keith Evans, Alanna Rose Everhart, Chantal Jolean Ezell-Moore, Aerfan Fallah, Austin Eugene Farsai, Pristine Anne Fermin, Jisselle Chanelle Fernandez, Ashley Taylor Ferreira, James Donovan Finnie II, Blaine Allen Fitzpatrick, Natalie Marie Fiutek, Joshua Taylor Fontes, Jordan Victoria Ford, Kiely Raye Ford, Wyatt Matthew Foreman, Abbey Louise Forkus, Brittany Elizabeth Foster, Kylie Britt Foster, Jordan Paul Fovel, Caitlyn Rose Freeman, Brandon Terry Fulcher, Roy Franklin Gaines, Adrianna Marie Gallardo, Nathaniel Ignacio Gantan, Ashley Rose Germann, Mujiba Ghani, Daniela Katherine Ghiglieri, Alesi González, Estafany Gonzalez, Gildo Antonio Gonzalez, Irene Danielle Gonzalez, Samuel Christian Grace, Taylor Jean Gregerson, Myles Douglas Gregory, Dominique Lee Grogans, Steven Joseph Anthony Groton, Sonja Marie Grovhoug, Alexandra Michelle Grube, Logan Joseph Guadagni, Carter Nelson Haines, Charlee Renee Haller, Klayton Christopher Halog, Sean Austin Halter, Emily Nicole Linda Hammond, Chelsey Faith Hancock, Veronica B. Hanel, Solomon Jalal Harb, Jaime Haro, Megan Elizabeth Harrity, Melissa Catherine Head, Jacob Alan Henry, Sandy Chamee Her, Alexandra Marie Hernandez, Cecilia Hernandez, Gerardo Hernandez, Catherine Devi Hicks, Kayla Emilia Hinojosa, Bernadette Kateri Hockel, Amanda Lee Hofflander, Aspen Anne Holden, Richard Holland, Kaitlin Marie Hoyle, Kimberly Rose Hurtado, Cecelia Nadine Ibarra, Nahel Ibrahim, Nicole Kukunaokalaikalani Igou-Texeira, Dominique Mishon Jackson, James Rein Jackson, Nia Maria Jogopulos, Haley Jená Johnson, Melissa Rene Johnson, Orlando LeeDon Johnson, Laurel Phoebe Jones, Ericka Marie Jordan, Hilaria Julian, Jeraldine Julian, Krystiyanna Christiene Kabasinskas, Benjamin Noah Kahn, Mackenzie Neal Keady, Kyreesha Marshawn Keller, Felicity Marie King, Michael James Christopher Kintscher, Joshua Tylar Kling, Kiah Simone Knox, Erica Lynn Knudsen, Holly Shelton Kraeber, Nicholas Michael Krahnke, Britney Tanae Kuykendall, Marcus Dylan Lance, Katrina Anne Land, Cody Michael Lanning, Kevin James Lara, Zachary Alex Larson, Zachary J. Lawton, Carleta D. Leonard, Lindsey Ann Leos, Zachary Lee Lim, Erika Samantha Linares, Briana Nicole Lomax, Guadalupe Lopez, Jocelyn López, Jorge Armando Lopez, Steven Frank Lucido, Jr., Gabrielle Lehn Lunger, Kelly Luong, Katelyn Nicole Lyman, Michellangela Ong Madrid, Romel Gregorio Magwili, Gianna Rose Malfitano, Nicole Taylor Manifold, Christian Gerardo Marcelo, Logan Joseph Marshall, Andrea Paulina Martin, Theresa Valeria Ann Martin, Andres Abraham Martinez, Lucas Ryan Marzocco, Dezarae Danyel Mashore, Danielle Marie Massie, Matthew McClinton, Jason Anthony McCowan, Alisha McCoy, Anthony Rodrick McIver, Kenzie Lee McMillan, Joseph Robert McMindes, Zachary James Meyer, Matthew Ronald Micuch, Dexter Jamiel Miller, Kaitlyn Taylor Miller, Heather Marie Moeller, Brenda Montoya, Adriana Vanessa Morales, Paige Marie Morse, Kailey Nicole Moser, McKenzie Moser, Hannah Jean Murray, Tyler Spencer Naismith, Laksika Naksa-Ingsart, Cody James Naugle, Joshua Elliot Ned, Renee Phuong Thao Nguyen, Bryce Michael Nicolicchia, Adam Richard Nielsen, Anthony Allan Norris, Tanner Dean Norris, Clifford Chinedu Obodo, Esmeralda R. Ochoa, Marissa Ione Ochoa, Raymond Kyree Oliver, Brei Leslie Marie Oliver-Houston, Megan Ann Olson, Yasmine Sahar Omeryar, Chiamaka Adaeze Onwuzulike, Marissa Renee Ortiz, Travis Robert Edward Ortman, Brennan James O'Shea, Jacob Daniel Overton, Mitchell Thomas Packard, Alexander Guthrie Packer, Melissa Ann Padgett, Priscilla Pauline Pagnini, Tyler Stephen Pahl, Kristina Grace Palamos, John Santino Palazzotto, Anna Louise Pangilinan, Christian Alejandro Paniagua, Jordan Robert Paris, Daniela Patino, Harrison Scott Pearson, Paula Frances Pecoraro, Nina Marie Peele, Benjamin Paul Peirce, Mariela Kelly Peña, Andrew James Penrod, Kassidy Jane Kathryn Penso, Tyler David Peretti, Arlena Cristina Perez, Christopher Damian Perez, Derrick Craig Perry, Ekene Peter-Obiagwu, Joshua Lee Petersen, Thaddeus George Peterson, Shelby Nicole Petrie, Michelle Phan, Chelsea Lynn Piedad, Brandan Michael Pomeroy, Jeremiah A. Poti, Ronan A. Potts, Zachary J. Poupore, David Michael Prass, Belinda Kate Procassini, Christopher Dennis Puccetti, Kevin Anthony Puppo, Leslie Elise Putnam, Lauren Nicol Quesada, Ashley Michelle Quintanilla, Angelo Kenneth Rachal, Mohammed Abdul Rafae, Ashleigh Ann Reed, Nicholas Francis Rethage, Nicole Ann Reyes, Mason Paul Richardson, Joshua Kyle Riddle, Sarah Yousra Rifahi, Austin Conary Roach, Julianne Marie Roberts, Dreyiel Kursten Robinson, Mychal Elway Robinson, Austin Conner Rodda, Lisa Danielle Rodrigues, Alex Robert Rodriguez, Brandon Bosworth Roesset, Emily Chanda Roeurb, Janelle Taylor Rogers, David G. Rojas, Arielle Ronquillo, Tyreik LaMon Ross, Nickolas Anthoni Rovira, Bethany Lu´ukia Rowell, Dyana Alexandra Ruelas, Sergio Yocael Ruiz, Amanda Danielle Rusca, Brandon Edward Rylee, Steven Shigeo Sakamoto, Arlesha-Marie Nicole Samuda, Elena Andrea Sanchez, Marcos Luis Sanchez, Shelby N. Sanders, Nicko Laranang Santa Ana, Aisha Sayedi, Daniel Peter Scherzer, Ashley Marie Schielie, Leslie A. Schivo II, Dakota Catherine Schwartz, Jordan Renee Searles, Lindsey Marie Shafto, Nicholas Charles Shafto, Jeremy Robert Shaver, Richard Benjamin Shay, Atta Ahmed Shehadey, Jessalynn Nicole Sheldon, Savannah Rose Shelton, Nikayla Ashley Shodeen, Muhammad Tarek Shoman, Hazel Shannon Sipin, Erin Linea Skowron, Michael Gino Sledd, Eric Lamond Smith, Jr., Estrus Smith, Gabriel Lawrence Soto, Norman Thomas Sowell, Emily Kate Spilker, Benjamin Connor Steele, Dalton Sorensen Steele, Sarah Elizabeth Stewart, Ali Melissa Stoltz, Taylor Lin Storer, Joshua Peter Strang, Abigail Elizabeth Strauss, Jessica Brooke Sullivan, Nicholas John Sullivan, Natalie Keiko Sumi, Uzziah Jorai Sutton, Ashley Nicole Sweeney, Raisa Ruby Syed, Zachary Thomas Szopinski, Burgundi Kristine Tackitt, Cailin Marie Tallman, Yoshi Brian Tanabe, Tyler Manuel Tavares, Sierra Marie Taylor, Zainab Feroza Taymuree, Jordan William Tebbets, Stephanie Terriquez, Kyle Thomas Thacker, Alexis Niccole Thompson, Andrew Reyes Tolero, Patrick Andrew Townsend, Jake Phillip Trammell, Shanna Marie Twomey, Douglas Roy Uyehara, Jr., Jessica Jasmine Valadez, Davis Charles Vance, Cristian Vazquez, Kari Nicole Vers, Vanessa Lenora Vigil, John Michael Villanueva, Kimberly Lynn Vogler, Sarah Elizabeth Wagner, Bianca Joann Walian, Micah Andrelle Walter, Alex Ryan Kent Wechter, Taylor Kent Wheeler, Tyler Michael White, Genevieve-Zoë Ruthann Williams, Terrance Rene Williams, Trevor Donald Williamson, Brandi Chanelle Wilson, Freddie Charles Wilson, Grant Walter Wilson, Scott Wilson, Nicholas John Wise, Jacob Matthew Wolter, Joshua Kennedy Wood, Darren Eugene Woods, Adam Richard Woudstra, Nicholas Glen Wright-Broughton, Alexander Christian Yates, Kyle Gabriel Ybarrolaza, Jake Richard Yeoman, Jacob Andrew York, Kaylee Nicole Young-Lindsten, Josiah Nathaniel Younger, Roman Rahimi Yousof, Amanda June Zaste and Tiffany Zhou.