When co-valedictorian Eddie Aljamal was getting ready to put on his graduation gown, the zipper became hopelessly stuck. After fumbling with it for a few minutes he quickly realized that staff handing out the gowns could help him.
Quickly a staff member fixed his broken zipper and he was ready to dawn his gown. It was a small gesture that seemingly anyone would do to help a student. But in the hustle and bustle just minutes before the big night, it spoke volumes about the caring, family-like environment at Pitman High School.
For approximately 471 Pitman High School seniors, Thursday night marked a milestone achievement in their lives, high school graduation. For the class of 2014, it was time to celebrate — but first they had to take some “selfies.”
By far the most abundant stage celebration was students taking selfies when they received their diplomas, or in the middle of walking down the aisle shortly after.
But the most abundant expression and sentiment of the night was student’s love and appreciation of the Pitman High family they will be leaving behind as they transition into adulthood and explore future endeavors.
“I’m really going to miss the Pitman family, especially my teachers. They helped prepare me for college by giving me instructions but then kind of stepping back and giving me the space to work independently,” co-valedictorian Eddie Aljamal said.
Aljamal and co-valedictorian Michi Kirihara had impressive Pitman careers. Each carried a 4.5 GPA, which PHS Principal Rod Hollars pointed out was double his own high school GPA. Aljamal will to study mathematical physics at University of California, Berkeley and Kirihara will attend University of California, Davis to study applied mathematics.
Distinguished graduate Liz Segars says the only thing she will not miss about Pitman is the seagulls and how they often expel their droppings on people.
“Yeah, that is the only thing, I was lucky to escape without getting pooped on,” she joked.
She went on to explain that PHS teachers, staff, and coaches made her experience in high school very meaningful.
“They all care about us students, they care about our personal lives and how we are doing and they check on you. Everyone really cares. Here I made a family with friends I met when I was a freshman,” she said.
Segars played four years of softball at PHS and carried a 4.17 GPA. Next year she will attend Cal Poly and she plans to major in animal science. She says the dedicated and family environment at Pitman is something she will carry with her for the rest of her life and into her career.
Turlockcitynews.com wishes all of the graduates of the class of 2014 good luck in all of their future explorations.
Pitman High School Class of 2014:
Mark Michael Abdishou, Job Abundiz Acevedo, Sally Rikki Acosta, Megan Marie Acree, Cynablet Aghasi, Isaac Munoz Aguirre, Eddie Aljamal, Madeline K Allen, Alan Sonny Alvarez, Mariah Taylor Anderson, Andy Anourack, Sarge Aoraha, Sonia Arechiga, Samuel C Arias, Emily Marie Arnold, Leticia Eustolia Arredulfo Garcia, Alejandra Arriaga Gonzalez, Adelaida Evelyn Astorga, Ravneet Kaur Attwal, Angélica María Ayala, Juan Ayala, Arvin Azaryans, Jose Javier Azpeitia, Apaul John Babasi, Dustin Babb, Joseph Esha Badal, David Baghdasarian, Hunter Carrigan Bailey, Sheyenne Magenna Bailey, Tristan Singh Bains, Alexander Jacob Baker, Andrew K Baker, Lexi Jazz Baltazar, Juan Carlos Ban, Joselyn L Barrios, Samantha Basconcillo, Shawn Bassi, Rafaela Pereira, Whitney Renae Bay, Megan Christine Beaman, Mathias Beitoshana, Eric Anthony Bejaran, Linda Lee Belew, Brianna Kathleen Benton, Zachary Taylor Benton, Joseph Ryan Berlin, Joseph Gene Berry, Jansen Parks Berryhill, John Austin Bettencourt, Victoria Jade Bettencourt, Sabdeep Singh Bhandal, Melanie Angela Bickel, Timothy William Blakemore, Elyssa Lynn Bourquin, Samuel Boyer, Justin Daniel Bradley, Garett Lawrence Brock, Justin Alexander George Brown, Sierra Ann Brown, Dakota Lynn Browning, Emma Elizabeth Burke, Princess M.L. Burke, Rebecca Meranda Burks, Ryan Thomas Burns, Jazzmine Myricle Palacio, Jesus Cadeza, Jessica Calderon, Lilibeth Campos, Dulce Campos, Javier Cantu, Daniel Carbajal, Alex Ricardo Cardenas, Gretchen Nicole Cardoza, David Carrasco-Chavez, Julian Hilario Carrera, Ismael Carrillo-Garcia, Morgan Rebecka Carter, Jessica Castañeda, Alec Xavier Castellano, Manuel Joseph Castillo Jr., Sierra Jane Cawelti, Pauline Cepeda, Gurjit Singh Chahal, Mickey DeGuzman Chan, Punit Chand, Trevor Andrew Chaney, Scarlett O'Hara Chaves, Evelyn Chavez, Jose Manuel Chavez, Mario Chavez, Sarah Elizabeth Chavez, Sukhpreet Kaur Cheema, Yasmeet Cheema, Eddy Georges Chikrallah, Geoffrey Wyatt Clapper, Ryan Clark, John Kusaan Coelho, Kelli Savannah Coffelt, Shakia Elizabeth Collins, Clarissa Ki Suk Conley, Marlene Contreras, Sarahi G. Contreras, George Isaiah Corsbie, Jocelyn Cortez, Caitlin Diane Cox, Kollin J. Craig, Devin Culebro, Taylor Marie Curiel, Andrew Jayson Cutler, Amy-Rose Catherine Damas, Sarah Kate Daniloo, Brolin Davidof, Aubrey Alanna Davis, Treajure Intrigue Davis, Carter Flanary Day, Jose Leonardo De La Torre, Hunter Jon De Bruin, Maricella Juliet DelMercado, Sandeep K. Dhaliwal, Jolin Kaur Dhillon, Banvir Kaur Dhindsa, Derek James Dias, Enrique Diaz, Christina Glea Dirkse, James Mitchell Dover, Gary Allyn Dunn, Dominic Jesus Duran, Erika Renae Dwight, Amir H. Ebrahimi, Samuel Eissavi, Osvaldo Eligio Olea, Jeremy Douglas Ellenbarger, Jaimee Leigh Ellison, Seth Robert Ellison, Marcus Samir Esho, Daniela Espinoza, Kiara Denise Esquivel, Evan James Estep, Christopher Rey Favila, Anthony Aaron Figueroa, Frank Isaac Figueroa, Amber Monique Flores, Cassandra Apodaca Flores, Angelique Jessica Florez, Taylor Rene Folkner, Elisiah Nachelle Frank, Abraham Fuentes, Celeste Jasmin Orejel Garcia, Jovani E Garcia, Magdalena Garcia, Marissa Garcia, Miguel Enrique Garcia, Xiotchi Love Garcia, Nathan Thomas Gianesin, Justin Tyler Giesbrecht, Angelica Alicia Gois, Ramon Gonsalez Carlos, Brent Gonsalves, Allysa Nicole Gonzales, Emilio Roberto Gonzalez, Isaac Gonzalez, Jesus Eduardo Gonzalez, Melinda R. Gonzalez, Noemi Gonzalez, Roddy M. Gonzalez, Yezenia Gonzalez, Yohari Itzel Gonzalez, Broneil Govergezy, Carly Jean Gray, Cody Green, Jonathan Greene, D'Andre Griffin, Jonathan Gerard Lee Grogan, Erika Noelle Guell, Ross Guerbadot, Alexis Nicole Guillen, Christian Guillen, Sean Patrick Guinnane, Jason Gutierrez Gutierrez, Tony Christopher Gutierrez, Kudakwashe Malchiah Gwasira. Darryl Dodge Hadlich, Jason Adam Chance Hagar, Geneva Christine Halsne, Moriah Grace Halteman, Zachary Troy Hamilton, Katlyn Nicole Hanf, Ryan Paul Hanson, Brian L. Hardin II, Angelica Denise Lee Harding, Whitney Alicia Martinez, Amber L. Harrold, Aaron Harvey, Alashia Brea Hasty, Connor Leanne Heaslett, Chance Gregory Heaston, Jonathan Daniel Brabston Hemming, Alyssa Lynne Hensley, Anthony Hernandez, Juan Carlos Hernandez, Lorenzo Daniel Hernandez, Nicholas Ryan Hernandez, Ruby Ramirez Hernandez, Vanessa Hernandez, Jesus Martin Hernandez Garcia, Nathaniel James Hildebrand, Anna Marie Hinds, Briauna Alyssa Hoerz, Tessa Lynn Hosman, Sydney Hubbel, Abrielle Camille Hurst, Ramel T. Ishaya, Miya Oliva, Kohl Hunter James, Taylor Ann Jarvis, Frida Lucina Jasso, Liam Bailey Jensen, Marissa Elizabeth Jensen, Enoch Jimenez, Seth Lee Jimenez, Vanessa Jimenez, Marcos Jimenez Jr, Jagjit Singh Johal, Manpreet Johal, Christa Angelene Jones, Derek Michael Jones, Haley Nicole Jones, Tiffani Nicole Jones, Timothy Patrick Jones, Pardeep S Judge, Randeep Kang, Amandeep Kaur, Kiran Kaur, Lovepreet Kaur Grewal, Kayla Ann Kenney, Robert Joseph Ketscher, Andrew Kheyo, Michi Christine Kirihara, Trevor Michael Knudsen, Jacob Kollar, Amy Lynn Lafaver, Angelina Lainez, Malachi Edward Landavazo, Melina Lanzar, Hope Mackenzie Lasater, Sydney Elaine Lawrence, Christina Bianca Legrande, Paul Anthony Lencioni Jr, Drew Joseph Lewis, Mario Lewis, Claire Allison, Adair Littlefield, Adam W Lloyd, Morgan Charlotte Loomis, Shane Lopes, Makiah Ruth Lozano, Justis ReAnn Lucas, Kyle Lawry Luiz, Dylan Jeffery Lunt, Aaron Micheal Lusher, Adam Lusher, Sara Elizabeth Machado, Alberto Macias Hernandez, Jessica Madrigal, Adriel Mancilla, Juan De La Cruz Manso, Janae Imani Marable, Marcio Edmond Maragol, Amy Martinez, Cynthia Lizett Martinez, Marcos Martinez, Monique Noemi Martinez, Oscar Martinez, Ramon Israel Martinez, Aaron Mayfield, Emily Linnea McAlister, Justin Tyler Mello, Jenny Jocelyn Mendoza Gonzalez, Yvonne Monares, Jacqueline Montelongo, Jaymon Alegado Montenegro, Liliana Montes, Sarah Anne Montgomery, Gerardo Mora, Jacqueline Mora, Damian Jose Luis Morales, Armando Rudy Gabriel Moreno, Cassie KoHnou Moua, Ryan Sarkis Mulhim, Daniel Muniz, Shawna Renee Murrell, Cheyenne Victoria Musgrave, Vanessa Diane Myers, Eshita Nandini, Jacob Roanhorse Nannie, Robert Anthony Nava, Julia Le Ngo, Nicholas Nghia Nguyen, Kenneth Anthony Nichols, Mahdis Nicokar, Mackenzie Paige Nordahl, Alexis Breanna Nova, Justin Derris Nowlin, Liliana Nunez, Cody James Oliver, Jacob Marley Olthof, Denise Ornelas, Ajianni Ortega, Bianca Alexis Ortega, Miguel Angel Ortega, Adrian Ortega-Ramos, Stephen Ryan Ortiz, Summayah Aliyah Osman, Melissa Patricia Osteen, Francisco Padilla Trujillo, Sherika Flonsa Mae Pao, Fernando Paredes, Odisho Pavir, Jorge Luis Peña, Alejandro Peral, Maria Guadalupe Peral, Celeste Perez, Daisy Monique Perez, Matthew Alexander Perez, Alex Jonathan Perumalla, Brooke Lee Pietrzyk, Stacey Gomes Pimentel, Avdisho Police, Anna Rose Porter, Mariam Pourmand, Michael E. Pulido Romero, Jason Thomas Raley, Alicia Ramirez, Andrew Ramirez, Emely Ramirez, Moses Ismael Ramirez, Pedro Ramirez Hernandez, Olivia Perez Ramos, Hardeep Kaur Randhawa, Cintia Raphael, Rachel Nicole Reding, Matthew William Reese, Seamus Padraig Reid, Ana Teresa Rendon, Julianne Marie Reyes, Jonathan, Javier Reynoso, Jenna Alyssa Riedel, Connor Matthew Risley, Cecilia Maria Rivas, Kessia Alejandra Rivas, Ricky Roa, Tayler Jordan Christopher Rodenburg, Alex Matthew Rodin, Konstantinos Nicholas Roditis, Alejandra Rodriguez, Cecilia Rodriguez, Esteban Sixto Rodriguez, Maximiliano Rodriguez, Nikolai Andres Rodriguez, Ijara Ebony Rogers, Arrio Gilbert Rosales, Maria Luisa Rosas, Robert Randall Roton, Juliana Rouel, Hayley Erin Rovito, Stephen Royal, James K. Royel, Eduardo Ruiz, Carmen G. Ruiz Garcia, Kacie Marie Rushing, Amar, Saini, Allison Grace Salafia, Jose Alfrado Salas Jr., Luis A. Salazar, Alexis Marie Salinas, Navdeep Singh Samra, Ruby Sanchez, Oscar Omar Sanchez Sanchez, Nala Monique Sanders, Hector Sandoval, Sandeep Kaur Sanghera, Ramsin Alexander Sarkes, Sandra Sarkis, Andreh Sayyad, Amy Elizabeth Schuhardt, Evan Michael Schulze, Ciera Lyn Scott, Samantha Jane Scott, Justin Tyler Scroggins, Joshua Steven Jones, Elizabeth Noel Segars, Bobby Sigala Mendoza, Anissa Pearl Silva, Bryce Anthony Silva, Gagan Sindal, Amninder Singh, Davina Kaur Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Gurjot Singh, Harpreet Singh, Jaideep Singh, Rajdeep Kaur Singh, Rina Kaur Singh, Salvindar Singh, Oliver Hamilton Snell, Madelynne Deeann Snider, Cameron Lynn Sondeno, Angel Manuel Soto, Sheyenne Alexis Sousa, Trevor James Joseph Speckman, Renee Allison Sperry, Dakota Michael Spillers, Jonathon James Spratling, Alexander James Staat, Nathan Charles Staats, Abigail Nicole Starr, David Charles Stephenson, Bailey Nicole Stone, Cassidy Stone, James E. Sweeten Jr., Kathleen Anne Synstad, Grant Matthew Tallent, Maryam Tamarzian, Anebra Tamrazian, Billy Henry Taylor, Skylar Marie Taylor, Justin Teeples, Jasjot Singh Thiara, Parabhjot S Thiara, Alexis Lela Thompson, Hannah Elizabeth Thompson, Jacqueline Kate Thoresen, Estephanie Torres, Daniel J. Trevino, Timothy Frank Truax, Rosio Alvarez Trujillo, Gurvinder Singh Uppal, Brandon Riley Ureno, Phaolina Valdez, Briana Valencia, Savannah A. Valentine, Justin Chase Van Fleet, Reagan Leeann Vandeburg, Ariana Vargas, Nicole Elizabeth Vargas, Ryan Vargas, Elizabeth Lynn Varni, Marcus Andrew Vasquez, Emily Evelyn Vazquez, Adriana Arlen Vega, Alyssa V Vega, Trystan Anthony Vierra, Gricelda Vieyra, Pablo Christopher Villalpando Padilla, Chris Villanueva, Matthew Villarreal, Rubani K Virk, Jamison Vorse, Megan Elizabeth Wade, Melissa Marie Welsh, Matthew Kyle Wessels, Beau Madison Westbrook, Brianna Lynn Wheeler, Austin James Williams, Samuel Cole Wittstruck, Logan Ivory Wolfley, Nicole Yadgari, Kenneth Dean Yates, Alyssa Nicole Ybarra, Joseph Mikhaeil Youeil, Jasmine Janae Youngdale, Christian Arturo Zamarripa, Anaximenes Z. Farias, Ezequiel Zuniga, and Andrea Nicole Zylstra.
Pitman High School Co-Valedictorian Speech
Aljamal: We would like to extend a warm welcome to everyone in attendance. As I look out amongst all of you, I am reminded of the meaning of family. The eternal power of family never ceases to strengthen my faith in the spirit of humanity. Family is an ever flowing fountain of love, selflessness, and sacrifice, and it is the force of this current that sweeps us through life, ensuring that we arrive at momentous occasions such as this. Therefore, I would like to thank not only my family but each and every person here, for without them this celebration would be far out of sight.
Kirihara: Eddie and I are truly honored to stand before you today as representatives of our graduating class, and we sincerely appreciate the recognition that arises from being named valedictorian. The calculation for valedictorian is based on GPA, a 3-digit number in which a decimal point falls after the first digit, leaving distinctions to derive from hundredths of a point. However, GPA is not the only measure of accomplishment. Each and every student has worked to be here; we have earned this, and we, all of us, deserve to celebrate this achievement.
It seems valedictorians—or co-valedictorians, as the case may be—are thought to be inherently capable of not only writing and delivering an engaging, thought-provoking speech but also representing the collective, 4-year-long experience of their entire graduating class, and representing it succinctly at that. I am skeptical of that assertion, particularly when the role is entrusted to someone whose passions reside outside linguistic studies. Luckily for us, the title of co-valedictorian was bestowed upon two persons whose primary interests currently lie in mathematics and science. Regardless, life necessitates adaptability; we must be able to adjust to overcome obstacles, and we must allow those obstacles to motivate us rather than subdue us. So, while calculating digits of the Golden Ratio might cater more to my strengths and even interest some of you, I realize such a course of action is neither adequate nor allocatively efficient at this time. Since every field of study has its applications and its limitations—there are, as it turns out, certain difficulties associated with converting emotions into numbers—each subject has its own unique value. Everyone has favorable skills worthy of recognition, though not all are to others as captivating as performing amazing hula-hoop routines or as entertaining as working the red carpet during award ceremonies. I therefore encourage you all, young people in particular, to expose yourselves to new experiences; step out of your comfort zone so that you might uncover hidden interests or gain a deeper understanding of others' interests, for humanity progresses when people are able to pursue their passions and appreciate when others proceed similarly.
Aljamal: As freshmen we entered the unfamiliar world of high school with a degree of apprehension, yet we were determined to conquer the challenges (even REHUGO) that awaited us. Now, four years later, we face a similar situation. My fellow graduates, this day marks the beginning of our independent adult lives. With this we are entrusted with a vital responsibility: the responsibility to help others and improve our world. While this is indeed a heavy burden, it is also an everlasting gift of hope that is reborn with each generation. It is our honorable duty to reach for more, to progress as a society, to work towards bettering the world for the future and those to come.
Throughout your lives, you will set goals for yourselves: goals to be rich, to be successful, to be admired, and you will strive with all your might to attain those goals. Remember, though, that the satisfaction of establishing that legacy you hope to achieve is ultimately fleeting. Aspiring to selflessness rather than self-indulgence will afford us more. There is something miraculous and divine in helping others both physically and spiritually. As we wait for assistance from the supernatural, we neglect the fact that we are capable of performing astonishing miracles. Miracles such as saving a child from the bowels of war and hatred in Syria, delivering him to the land of opportunity, and paving his way to becoming the co-valedictorian of his high school. We are the miracles that we have waited for so long to befall us. The miracle of helping our brothers and sisters is the only legacy that remains of us after death; only a life lived for others is a life worth living.
Kirihara: Dr. Staley, for those of you who’ve not heard of her, is a confident, intelligent math teacher, who is unafraid of speaking her mind, a trait that makes her highly admirable, albeit a bit intimidating. Admittedly, though Dr. Staley has since become one of my favorite teachers, the first time I left her class, I feared the year to come. Before marking work with her students Dr. Staley always advises them, "Colored pencils in the hands, honesty in the hearts." Partaking in this custom is commensurate with agreeing to acknowledge rather than conceal your mistakes, to correct rather than ignore your errors, and to take responsibility for rather than disregard your actions. In short, it has to do with integrity. I’ve exposed more symbolic value in colored pencils than do Pitman teachers in the Wizard of Oz because I believe that too often we fail to grasp deeper meanings and hidden wisdom because we neglect to think critically and deeply. We dismiss ideas without addressing them completely, a practice that I strongly caution against. And so it is with metaphorical colored pencils in our hands and honesty in our hearts that we, John H. Pitman High School's graduating class of 2014, thank all those who offered us their support throughout this journey. With these colored pencils, which carry promises of improvement for the future, we illuminate our gratitude to you that went unspoken and even unseen at times. We could not have accomplished all that we have without your assistance.
Aljamal: My peers, graduation is upon us. We have persevered and should continue to do so. In moving forward from this celebration, let us strive to lead honest lives, living humbly with purpose and passion, let us work to improve the world by treating others with compassion and offering assistance to those in need, let us open our minds and utilize them always, and let us remember to cherish those whom we love. In the words of various teachers, “Alls you gotta do” is be “mighty fine and on time” by “figuring it out” and “closing the loop” while bearing in mind that efficiency is key “during this period of time” because “people face trade-offs” and “the road to wealth is paved by time.” Oh, and “Watch your signs.”
Kirihara: Now, without further ado, we present to you our graduating class.