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Trojans transition to Generals

The eighth grade class of Richland Junior High took their last bows as Trojans, transitioning to their status as incoming Shafter Generals on Thursday night, receiving their diplomas at the SHS football stadium.

Richland Superintendent Rosa Romero congratulated the graduates on all of their hard work and dedication. "I want you to remind you of the importance of this moment. Graduating from Richland Junior High is not only a culmination of your academic achievements, but also a celebration of your growth as an individual," Romero said.

She also encouraged them to embrace new challenges, continue to learn and never be afraid to ask for help. She congratulated them and told them to take pride in this moment, in their accomplishments and look forward to all of the promising opportunities that lie ahead.

Every year, Richland Junior High selects a Tommy and Tammy Trojan, who help with the ceremonies and activities. This year, they were Rey Villalobos and Thanya Galindo.

The pair introduced Principal Monica Garza, who told the class that she knew that they had faced challenges in their time at Richland, but she knows that they had the perseverance to meet those challenges. "You know what struggles look like, you know what overcoming struggles looks like." She said that they have accomplished so much in their time at RJH, but academic accomplishments are only part of what they have accomplished. "You have excelled in music, art, sports, coding and, really, in life."

Garza said that they strive to build a culture where their scholars demonstrate Trojan PRIDE. "To have Trojan PRIDE is to demonstrate Productivity, Respect, Integrity, Dedication and Excellence."

She said that they will take these qualities with them and build upon them. "As Generals, you will continue to grow. High school is full of amazing opportunities for you, but you, freshmen, are responsible for taking those opportunities and transforming them into meaningful experiences for yourselves."

Also speaking was Richland School District Board President Melissa Dewitt, who told them that she encouraged the kids to get involved in high school. "My heart's desire tonight is that you understand the potential you have is big. Know that you are enough, you are important, and you matter."

Valedictorian Brooklyn Allred and Salutatorian Camilla Acosta Serrato also spoke at the event. Serrato spoke about the goal that she had in mind when she embarked on her junior high journey. "I wanted to walk wearing a golden gown like my brother." She said that she knew that it was going to be hard, but she stuck it out. Serrato didn't dream that she would ever be named salutatorian. "I just thought that I would graduate with a golden gown and cord. That was it. I never imagined that my efforts would pay off to this amount. This just proves that you cannot only achieve your goals if you really want to, you can exceed them."

Allred spoke about the "fantastic and amazing" teachers that Richland has. Allred thanked those teachers, as well as the staff that helped shape them into the best versions of their selves. She also wanted to thank one very special teacher. "I want to thank my very first teacher, my mom. She has always pushed me to do my best- not to be perfect, but to be my personal best."

She also said that as they go on to the next chapter of their education, some of them may go in different directions, many to Shafter High, some to Wonderful, or even Delano. "But one thing I hope is that you all think back on these years at Richland Junior High fondly, with those memories that we have been able to share together here at Richland Junior High."

Allred said that eighth grade may be ending, but that there are so many great things ahead of them. "I can't wait to see what the future holds for each and every one of you."

Shafter High Principal Russell Shipley welcomed the class into the SHS family and said that he looked forward to seeing all of them in August.

Diplomas were given to each graduate, with everyone getting an opportunity to walk up to the stage one last time as a Richland Trojan.

 

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