HOLTVILLE — The academic achievements of more than 100 Holtville High School seniors were celebrated and applauded by the hundreds of community members in attendance at this year’s commencement ceremony at Birger Field here Wednesday.
A majority of the school’s 104th class had plans to continue their education at either a four- or two-year college or trade school.
Associated Student Body President Ashlin Burns commended her classmates for their success thus far.
“I am blessed to be among the most intelligent group of individuals I have ever known,” she said.
Nearly 25 percent of the senior class graduated with a grade-point-average of 3.5 or higher and 6 percent graduated with a GPA higher than a 4.0, including valedictorian Yesenia Castro.
Castro recalled her four years at Holtville High, summing them up as an unforgettable experience.
“I’ve really enjoyed all the teachers and all of the activities that I’ve participated in like ASB and sports,” Castro, an 18-year-old Holtville High graduate, said. “Everyone here has been so supportive.”
Castro encouraged her fellow classmates to “seize the day” and take advantage of the skills they were taught in school.
“We’re moving on to greater opportunities in life,” Castro said. “Life is what you make of it. We need to break down whatever barriers we are facing in order to succeed.”
Castro credited her counselor, Ellen Okada, and her physics teacher, Lynne Van Der Linden, for their ongoing support.
“Mrs. Van Der Linden was always there for us,” Castro said. “She would always stay after class and help us with anything we needed. She would go over everything with us until we really understood it.”
Julieta Fernandez, this year’s salutatorian, echoed her classmate’s sentiment and said she was looking forward to her life as a college freshman.
“I think it’ll be fun to start my life and be in the real world,” said Julieta, a 17-year-old Holtville High graduate. “I want to experience the ‘life of a college student’ that everyone talks about.”
A future freshman in the Imperial Valley University Partnership, Julieta said she hopes to become a psychologist and earn her doctorate degree in the future.
“I wanted to become an accountant but I realized that I’d rather do something with counseling,” she said. “I want to be able to help people and make a difference in their lives.”
Julieta wished her classmates good fortune and success and challenged them to make a difference in the world.
“We are the seeds that our parents planted 18 years ago,” she said. “They’ve given us the knowledge to lead a successful life and we owe it to them to do it.”
Name — Yesenia Castro