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Independent Voice

Largest MPHS Class Graduates

Jun 12, 2024 03:39PM ● By Debra Dingman, photos by Debra Dingman

The largest graduating class from Maine Prairie High School held last week saw 41 graduates.

DIXON, CA (MPG) - Other than one unhappy baby that cried loudly through half of the Maine Prairie High School graduation ceremony, everyone else in the entire Dixon Community Performing Arts Center was jubilant. The 41 members of the Class of 2024 filed into the traditional ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ amidst large bouquets of balloons and loud cheers.

Principal Angelina Arias welcomed the families, guests, and teachers in the packed auditorium and began with appreciation to the Dixon Unified School District Board of Trustees and Superintendent Brian Dolan who is retiring this school year. She also acknowledged devoted ‘friends’ of the school including Adrienne Laughter, Shawntel McCammon, and Phil Lockwood. She noted that she had an all-bilingual staff and referred to them as her ‘Dream Team.’

“Never let your diversity define you,” she advised the graduates in her speech that acknowledged each had come with struggles or obstacles, but all had overcome them. “Never underestimate the power of your voice to affect change.”

Maine Prairie High School graduation

 Family and friends mingled after the graduation ceremony for the Maine Prairie High School Class of 2024.

She reiterated the speech in Spanish and closed with “May your dreams be big, and your hearts be filled with joy.”

Graduation speeches by students were given by Jasmine Canchola, Kaylee Escobar, Rylee Manny and Jacqueline Silva.

“Being from an immigrant family is not easy. I was failing in all my classes. I had straight F’s,” started Silva adding that she did this for her mom. “I’m grateful this school gave me opportunities,” she closed.

Following the speakers that included many accolades for their teachers and families, there was a charming slideshow with baby pictures next to the student’s senior portraits which elicited hollers from each of the families in the audience.

Then the traditional talks about each student by one of their teachers began. Teachers told stories or listed positive characteristics of the students but also cited career goals.

Math teacher Andrea Ferguson spoke about Irvin Limon Reynaga, for example.

“He was the strongest math student that I’ve ever had, and he has two goals: Play soccer and get into mechanical engineering,” she said.

Andrew Algood wants to become a professional chef. Nassir Derossier will go to a vocational school to become an electrician. So will Silverio Rosales. A couple young women want to become ultrasound techs.

Maine Prairie High School Dixon Community Performing Arts Center

 Smile for the camera! Photos galore of happy Maine Prairie graduates took place outside the Dixon Community Performing Arts Center.

“Xiomara Inzunza completed all three of her classes in half the time,” said one teacher. “That’s never been done before and I’m so proud of her. She plans to go to UC Davis and study medicine. I have no doubt she’ll be successful.”

Celine Higby is working as a certified caregiver for her great grandmother but has a goal of attending a fire academy because she wants to be a First Responder. She got straight A’s. Angela Gomez will attend cosmetology school. Fred Ellsworth seeks a career in HVAC. One student, Eric Novoa, has a goal to be a professional bull rider. The audience listened intently to each presentation and teachers were often seen wiping their eyes.

Some will head off to Solano Community College, others to Woodland Community College and others to vocational schools but all had plans of some kind to achieve their goals.

Principal Arias closed by thanking her mentor, Yvette Ramos, who retired last year after a long career as Maine Prairie High School principal and lastly gave honor to Superintendent Brian Dolan.

“This is the largest class Maine Prairie’s ever had and for the new campus, all the new [staff and equipment,] and the glowing support, this is the man that made it happen,” Arias said. She then instructed the graduates to stand and cross their tassels to the other side of their graduation caps. All headed outdoors for photos where floral bouquets and balloons intermingled with boisterous students, proud parents and a happy baby.