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By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

Mustangs celebrate journey to high school

 

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

Paulina Evangelista with her family after receiving her diploma.

The Maple School Mustangs held a drive-by graduation ceremony last Friday, celebrating the students' accomplishments and their step into the high school arena.

There were 31 students receiving their diplomas with a parade of vehicles making their way into the school parking lot.

As each vehicle stopped in front of the makeshift podium, the student would exit the vehicle and receive their diploma. As they took the diploma, a short bio about each student was presented, listing their GPAs, favorite memories at Maple, and their plans for the future.

A variety of vehicles wound around the lot, including Hondas, Nissans, pickup trucks, and a couple of much larger vehicles. One student arrived in style in a big party bus, enjoying the ride with her family. Clint Bloemhof also was able to celebrate with friends and family as they drove Clint to the podium in an old-school RV.

Superintendent Julie Boesch was on hand to help organize the event. Boesch said they were very careful in following local and state guidelines for students, parents and staff, referring to the social distancing requirement and limit on large gatherings.

One of those students receiving their diploma was Paulina Evangelista, who, in addition to her diploma, received a Presidential Award of Excellence for her performance in the classroom.

Also receiving a Presidential Award was Addison Garcia. Addison plans on going to Shafter High, then to college in pursuit of becoming a teacher. She held a GPA of over 3.78 in her years at Maple. Her favorite memories at Maple were Camp Keep, the trip to Washington, D.C., and the annual BBQ and Carnival.

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

Clint Bleomhof celebrated with family and friends in this old-school RV.

This class of eighth-graders has been through a series of challenges, with the current COVID-19 pandemic affecting their graduation, as well as going to class the past two years with the construction and renovation of the school going on. The students had to use portable classrooms, go without administration buildings for a time, and had to weather more than one storm as the workers were trying hard to get the school completed on time.

Boesch said it was important to recognize these students. "They have worked so hard for the past eight years, preparing themselves for high school," she said. "We needed to do something for these kids and this graduation was just great."

Of the 31 kids, many will be attending Shafter High in the fall, with the remainder going to Wasco.

 

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