For many, the path to a diploma wasn’t easy. Jocelyn Esceverri expressed gratitude for her teachers, without whom she didn’t think she would have succeeded.
“It’s a huge accomplishment. I feel very proud of myself,” Esceverri said. “A lot of people thought we couldn’t make it, but we’re here as the Class of 2014.”
Of 121 graduating seniors, 110 took part in the ceremony on the school quad at 650 W. 10th St.
Principal Cynthia Johannes welcomed them and their family and friends to the commencement ceremony. “We at Stein High are very proud of each and every graduate.”
She dedicated the event to the Tracy Unified School District superintendent, Dr. James Franco, who is retiring in June. During his tenure, Stein High, the district’s continuation school, moved to its home at the former campus of West Park Elementary School.
“It is thanks to Dr. Franco that Stein High resides at this site,” Johnannes said.
Franco presented the Class of 2014, urging the graduates to never stop believing in what they could do and always strive for the best.
Later, the superintendent shook hands with all of the students individually after they received their diplomas.
Family and friends lined the quad, cheering on the class. Seniors who had won scholarships were announced, and Matthew Capili sang “No Boundaries” — the first time a student musician has performed at a Stein High graduation.
Student speakers addressed their classmates, sharing stories of adversity on the way to graduation.
Marina Sanchez said she overcame multiple challenges in pursuit of her diploma.
“It’s not easy being here today,” Sanchez said. “My goal was to be the first person in my family to graduate.”
She thanked her family for helping her through difficult times and said she was ready to continue her education in college next year.
Brittany N. Dominguez, the winner of two scholarships, said that as a young mother, she was determined to go to college. She said the Class of 2014 owed a debt of thanks to the teachers.
“We know you embraced us and never judged us by our past,” Dominguez said. “We have faced many obstacles and fought through them.”
Seniors accepted their diplomas from school board members and finished their graduation ceremony by flinging their caps skyward.
Steven Medina, who spoke during the ceremony, also thanked his family, his friends and the Stein High staff for keeping him on the path to graduation.
“They say you fight your hardest when you start from behind, and that’s what we all did,” Medina said. “I guess now it’s time for me to realize I’m done. I won’t be able to relive these moments. It seems unreal. I’m finally done.”
• Contact Glenn Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or 830-4252