The sunny sky over Finney Field was filled with the sounds of cheers, applause and air horns as the morning began at graduation ceremony.
Another familiar sound was in the air Saturday morning, “Pomp and Circumstance,” as the Class of 2012 made its way to the middle of the field and proud friends and family members looked on.
Just before the graduates made the walk that they’ve been looking forward to all year, they gathered inside the school’s small gym to take photographs, text people, make some last-minute adjustments to their caps and gowns and talk of what they would be doing after graduation.
“During the summer vacation, I will be working to get more money for college,” said Ryan Mendisco, 17, the charismatic drummer for
Asked what he will miss most about high school life Mendisco said “Seeing all my friends every day.”
His dad, Philip, proudly posted on Facebook "Ryan graduated high school today. I am so proud of the awesome young man he is turning out to be. Honest, hard working, and terrific personality."
Ryan will be attending Sacramento City College after the summer vacation and he hopes to eventually transfer to a university to study criminal justice.
Paige Leber said she hasn’t decided what to major in at college, but plans to attend Santa Monica Community College in the fall. But before she hits the books once again, Paige will work at Bella Moda and do some babysitting over the summer she told the Patch.
"I will miss not being able to see all my friends at DHS anymore," she said.
Marcos Pangelinan said "I will be playing football at American River College for a while. I will miss my friends and all of the football games I played here with my team."
Payton Dodge said she plans to look for a new job this summer. Payton’s goal is to one day become a medical assistant, she said. Come fall, she will be attending Boston Reed College.
As graduation got underway DHS Principal John Barsotti addressed the crowd and said: “Two-hundred-fifty-four young people will benefit, celebrate and make the world a better place. Thank you class of 2012".
Class of 2012 Valedictorians Alyssa Smith and Nicole Solano delivered an emotional address to the graduates about the lifelong journey they were about to embark on.
“Change may feel uneasy, but just remember that in kindergarten your mom and dad were not there to hold your hand,” Alyssa told her fellow graduates. “Then think of junior high, when we had to change into P.E. clothes for the first time and having seven classes a day. The next thing you know you’re at this big high school and now you are driving yourself to school every day. We were introduced to many new teachers and a lot more sports at DHS.”
Smith and Solano encouraged their fellow graduates to overcome the challenges that are ahead for each of them after graduation in the same manner that they've been doing all their lives.