San Andreas High School’s 2019 graduation ceremony drew thousands to San Manuel Stadium on Monday, June 3.

Overcoming adversity was by-and-large the main theme of the San Andreas High School graduation ceremony on Monday, June 3, as most of their 290 graduates took to the stage at San Manuel Stadium. Thousands of their friends and family were there to cheer them on, as each crossed their own proverbial “home plate.”

Just getting them to swing their bats was the hardest part, according to principal Ed Hensley.

“All of our graduates come in credit-deficient.” Hensley pointed out that along the way, “they realize the importance of coming to school, going to class, doing the work, earning the credits.”

Speakers for the commencement included a selection of San Andreas students, starting with Richard Jones. Jones has already taken a leap of faith in his career, working at Garner Holt Productions.

“When I take into consideration how much has changed, knowing it’s not easy, it’s still a humbling feeling,” he told his classmates. “I want you all to know that this is not the end of our journey. There will be days where it’ll seem like the ground is shaking beneath our feet. But remember that we are the 2019 Quakes and we are unshakeable.”

Clarissa Cruz talked about how the loss of her parents shook up her life.

“The reason I fell off-track was because I never had my parents there, or any kind of support. I’ve had to live and learn on my own… While I was trying to graduate I was homeless, sleeping in sheds, garages and cars. I came to a point when I was fed up, so I did everything in my power to graduate while not letting anything negative get in my way.”

Marie Coleman said breaking away from peers in Los Angeles was what helped her make it to the graduation stage, especially after becoming pregnant.

“I had a few obstacles here and there, but I persevered; I would like to thank my boyfriend who helped with middle of the night feedings when our daughter was waking up so I could complete stuff for school. I would also like to thank the staff of Destination Diploma, and the Cal State program for their support.”

As part of his speech, Hensley led his graduates to give thanks to their parents and guardians, their teachers and their counselors for helping them climb out of their losing streaks.

“Graduation is a time to reflect, celebrate accomplishments and plan for your future,” he reminded them. “Think back to your first day at San Andreas; You weren’t quite sure how we were different. You still didn’t trust us or yourselves to get where you are right now. You slowly learned that our classes were smaller, semesters were six weeks long, and that you earn credits faster. Today, your work and progress have paid off.”

Board of Education Vice President Gwen Rodgers reminded graduates that their lives are their story.

“The next part will be your journey; Never forget where you came from, because it will let you know where you are going.”

Prior to certifying graduates to receive their diplomas, Superintendent Dale Marsden advised students to ‘work’ their dreams.

“Don’t let your dreams ever leave your sight; In 1984, when I graduated a long time ago, I would have never dreamed when I was sitting in seats like you and wearing the gown and cap like you, that I would be where I am today. My first job was Der Wienerschnitzel. My second job was Taco Bell. And I kept working jobs while I worked my dream.”

Marsden says the Air Force helped lead him to working in education.

Despite having a low rate of students going to college, Hensley said that taking this step toward their futures was the most important thing here.

“Be responsible, become independent, make sure you work hard and always say ‘thank you,’” is his advice to these graduates.

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