First in their class
by Joel Danoy / Tracy Press
Jun 08, 2012 | 2948 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kimball High School celebrated its first graduating senior class in what was a defining moment of accomplishment for students, school administrators and teachers.

Diplomas were handed out to 323 students during the ceremony Saturday, June 2, which began at 10 a.m. at the school’s Don Nicholson Stadium.

Several graduating seniors described the Class of 2012 as one united by close relationships, community service and academic and sporting success.

The seniors sent off this past weekend began classes Aug. 12, 2009, the opening day of Kimball High, as sophomores serving as the upperclassmen for a freshmen class. The sophomore class consisted of transfer students from Tracy, West and Delta Charter highs.

Though their backgrounds were different, Samantha Yeverino-Castro said strangers became classmates and grew into a collective group.

“When we first started, it felt like middle school, because it was just freshmen and sophomores with everyone transferring from other schools,” she said. “When we actually came together, we formed some great friendships, and from that we were able to grow and become a strong class.”

Christy Fernandez described graduating with Kimball’s first class as “a pretty unique experience” and said the school’s population, smaller than the city’s other traditional high schools, Tracy and West, helped classmates become friends.

“Since we are so small of a class, everybody either met or talked with each other in some way, shape or form,” she said. “At other schools with like 600 students, there are so many students, I think it’s harder to make friends, because it’s overwhelming.”

Joseph Yun said before the ceremony that the anticipation of receiving a diploma was “exhilarating” and that he and his classmates finally achieved the ultimate goal of graduating from high school.

“At this very moment, it’s everything you worked for the last four years happening right in front of you,” he said. “It’s like a state of denial right now. You don’t believe this is happening until it’s happening.”

Valedictorian Jochebed Ramat likened the class to pieces of cloth, which, during the course of three years, bonded together as a quilt. She commended her fellow students for setting traditions and leading the way.

“We didn’t need any role models — we are the first class,” Ramat said.

Salutatorian Rebekah Smith reminded her classmates during a speech that they should be proud of their achievements. She spoke about helping the homeless, organizing Peace Day and starting the first safe-and-sober prom program at a Tracy high school.

“If that is what we already have done, imagine what we will do,” she said.
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