Archive for the ‘Youth’ Category

Cornerstone Christian High School celebrates Class of 2019 full of champions

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Cornerstone Christian School’s Class of 2019 graduates celebrate on Thurs., June 6, 2019. Photos by Denise Baquing.

Valedictorian Nia Russell speaks during the ceremony.

By Denise Baquing

Antioch’s Cornerstone Christian High School celebrated the graduation of their 10-member Class of 2019 at the Cornerstone Christian Center on Thursday evening, June 6, 2019. This was a special class, making history with an undefeated varsity football team, two-time Small School Bridge League champions in consecutive years for both boys and girls varsity basketball teams, and the boys varsity basketball team winning the North Coast Section State Division 6 championship. All in just the school’s 19th year.

Student speakers included Valedictorian Nia Russell and Salutatorian James Ebert. She plans to attend Grand Canyon University and major in communications, then join the Army Reserve, and he plans to attend Los Medanos College then transfer to a four-year university.

In a unique aspect of the commencement ceremony, each graduate offered a tribute to their parents.

Cornerstone’s Senior Pastor and School Superintendent Larry Navilhon then shared an acronym with the graduates.

Principal Logan Heyer offered his thoughts with the graduates.

“CHARGE: Calling – pursue God’s calling; Hope – receive the hope of God and give it away; Authentic – be real with yourself and God; Rejoice – a lot of negativity in the world. But, rejoice in the Lord, be grateful, be thankful; Giver – be a giver; and Eternal – let everything you do, decisions, goals, etc. have an eternal view.”

Principal Logan Heyer, and the church and school staff offered their encouragement to the graduates, in a message on the ceremony program.

“We are so proud of you. It has been a pleasure to teach you, to interact with you, and to watch you grow in God’s grace and wisdom. Each of you has big dreams for your future, and we know that you all have the ability and the skills to achieve those dreams. We also pray that you will be open to the working of the Holy Spirit in your lives. He will take some of you on much different courses than what you initially planned, but this will only serve to strengthen you and mature your faith. Throughout your journey, hold tight to Jesus’ hand and never let go.

You are an incredible group of young men and women. While we will greatly miss you, we also rejoice with you in the completion of one phase of your lives and start of new beginnings.”

With Christ’s abundant blessings, Cornerstone Christian Center and School Staff.

Salutatorian James Ebert speaks to his classmates.

Teachers and family members offered their reactions, following the ceremony.

“Our graduates got to be celebrated and were given a chance to express their appreciation for parents, staff and whole person education they received,” one person in attendance said. “My favorite part was when each student called up their parents and got to say what they meant to them.”

“The senior video was so emotional,” said one teacher. “It makes you realize what an impact we actually have on our students’ lives.”

“It was a wonderful celebration filled with laughter, tears and a lot of hugs,” another parent shared. “This made all the sacrifice worth it.”

“It’s the most intimate and unique graduation service I’ve ever been too,” shared another.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Antioch High celebrates large graduating class Friday night

Monday, June 10th, 2019

The Antioch High Class of 2019 graduates celebrate at Eells Stadium, Friday night, June 7, 2019. Photos by Jesus Cano.

By Jesus Cano

The Antioch High School Class of 2019 saw a strength in numbers at its commencement ceremony inside Eells Stadium. On Friday night, June 7, 400 students received diplomas recognizing the completion of their high school education. It is a huge increase from last year, with 100 more than the class of 2018 according to principal Louie Rocha. It is also the largest graduating class since 2008.

Student Body President Clarissa Wilson speaks to her fellow classmates.

From the beginning, this class had the feeling of something special Rocha shared. It began an era in which Antioch would see a vast growth in student enrollment.

“We’re seeing a spike in numbers enrolled and we’re going to see a spike in students graduating,” said Rocha. “This particular class has been highly academic and motivated. I’m very proud of them. They’re overachievers.”

While the class size is impressive, Rocha admires the way these students performed academically. With 33 percent of the Class of 2019 ending its tenure at Antioch with a 3.5 grade point average.

The event kicked off with associated student body president Clarissa Christian Wilson offering her welcome, recounting memories with her class.

Andrew Daniel Roldán was the valedictorian while Michael David Lewis was the salutatorian. In Lewis’ speech, he captivated the audience with his words of praise for everyone who overcame obstacles, especially those who dealt with them silently.

After the Class of 2019 received their diplomas, class president Andreyne Godinez gave her farewell to the class. During it, she displayed her bilingual skills by speaking in Spanish about all the children of undocumented immigrants, and giving her parents a huge shout-out.

“Many of these kids are the first ones to not only graduate from high school but to go on to college,” said Rocha. “It’s a testament to their dedication.”

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Two Antioch female teens arrested for fight at Concord restaurant Thursday

Sunday, June 9th, 2019

Screenshot from KRON4 News report of fight at Concord restaurant Thurs., June 6, 2019.

18-year-old Pittsburg male also arrested for unrelated incident

By Lieutenant Sam Staten, Concord Police Department

On Thursday, June 06, 2019, at approximately 8:31 PM, Concord Police Officers responded to the 2000 block of Diamond Blvd regarding a fight at a restaurant involving several patrons. Officers arrived and encountered a large crowd outside of the restaurant. The preliminary investigation revealed that two females, who were known to each other, got into a physical fight inside of the restaurant. The fight ended prior to police arrival. Officers questioned several people including the involved parties. They determined that the fight was due to conflict that had occurred in the past between the two involved females.

As a result, a 19-year-old black female adult and a 16-year-old female juvenile (both Antioch residents) were arrested for battery. An 18-year-old male from Pittsburg was also arrested for an unrelated incident. The victim sustained a minor injury as a result of the fight. Video surveillance from the restaurant was not available at the time the police were on scene. But, video of the incident was posted on NBC Bay Area and can be viewed, here. (WARNING: Video contains graphic language; viewer discretion advised)

Anyone with additional information in regard to this incident is asked to call Concord Police Department Detective Sergeant Mark Robison at (925)-671-5074.

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Deer Valley High Class of 2019 grads, families celebrate Friday morning

Saturday, June 8th, 2019

The Deer Valley High School Class of 2019 during the graduation ceremonies, Friday morning, June 6, 2019. Photos by Allen Payton

ASB President Natasha Cao speaks to her classmates.

By Allen Payton

The Class of 2019 graduates of Deer Valley High School, and their family and friends filled the school’s Wolverine Stadium on Friday morning, June 6 to celebrate the accomplishment of completing 13 years of their education. Teacher and cross country and track coach Mike Green served as Master of Ceremonies.

The Deer Valley High band, under the direction of Conductor Larry Widener, played Pomp and Circumstance, as the graduates, many arm-in-arm, filed into the stadium. Salutatorian Mayra Arellano led the Pledge of Allegiance and the seating of her fellow classmates.

Antioch School Board President Gary Hack was first to speak.

“You’ve made it this far. The key words are ‘this far’. Your journey is not done. It’s not finished,” he said. “Cherish your accomplishments. Enjoy this day.”

Student speakers included student body president Natasha Cao and Valedictorian Edwin Reyes-Barreras.

Valedictorian Edwin Reyes-Barreras offers his thoughts.

“Everyone said the next four years will fly by. I can say I didn’t believe them,” Cao said. “Yet we find ourselves here today and I’m proud of every single person who made it in spite of their setbacks.”

For the happiness and hardships we will face, I encourage you to embrace the change,” Whether good or bad we have been touched by Deer Valley one way or another. Be proud of your background and the person you will fight to become.”

“To love is to give. We are the only ones able to define success,” she concluded. “Whatever you do, do it with all your heart.”

Reyes-Barrares spoke next, saying, “My goal since I was in kindergarten was to be here on this stage as valedictorian. In my junior year I felt like giving up. But I’m glad I did not give up.”

“Keep going for it…and never give up,” he implored his classmates. “I want to congratulate the Class of 2019 for their hard work. Never lose sight of your goals.”

The Divine Voices, who sang the National Anthem, sang “A Blessing” and “For Good” from the musical Wicked under the direction of Choral Director Michelle Stark

The Divine Voices perform for the graduates.

Deer Valley principal, Dr. Bukky Oyebade speaks to her students for the final time.

Dr. Bukky Oyebade, principal of Deer Valley, proudly stated the school had made the 2018-19 California Honor Roll School. She then shared some encouraging thoughts with the graduates.

“Today is only one step toward a brighter future. Today we celebrate your hard work and tenacity,” Dr. Bukky said. “Think about why you were born. Who else can I bless? Don’t be afraid. Be somebody. Don’t waste your time. Be about your business. “

“Congratulations Class of 2019. You rock,” she concluded.

Antioch Superintendent Stephanie Anello accepted the school’s Class of 2019, having met all the requirements to graduate. Board President Hack, and Trustees Diane Gibson-Gray, Crystal Sawyer-White, Mary Rocha and Ellie Householder handed the graduates their diplomas.

The tassel ceremony was led by ASB President Cao, and the graduates cheered, with some throwing their caps into the air to end the morning’s ceremonies.

Students from the school’s DVTV livestreamed the ceremony on YouTube, including aerial footage using a drone flying overhead. It can be viewed, here beginning at about the 29-minute mark.

The Deer Valley High Class of 2019 graduates turn their tassels and celebrate.

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Dozier-Libbey Medical High graduates 135 Thursday night

Thursday, June 6th, 2019

The Dozier-Libbey Medical High School Class of 2019 turn their tassels to conclude the graduation ceremonies on Thurs., June 6, 2019. Photos by Allen Payton.

Valedictorian Seenam Shah speaks to her fellow classmates.

By Allen Payton

The Dozier-Libbey Medical High School Class of 2019, made up of 135 members, graduated during ceremonies Thursday night, June 6. The event was held in the outdoor amphitheater of Deer Valley High School and was presided over by Kasey Graham, Leadership Advisor & Activities Director who served as Master of Ceremonies.

Student body president Jenna Walker sang the National Anthem and salutatorian Aliha Mughal led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Antioch School Board President Gary Hack encouraged the graduates in his speech.

“Wherever you go, whatever you do, go and do it with all your heart,” he said.

Student speakers included the two valedictorians, Seenam Shah and Jewelina Culcasi, as well as Stephen Caufield, who won a writing competition to be a graduation speaker.

“Dozier-Libbey is literally a barn surrounded by cows,” Shah said to begin. “Every graduate here played a part in the story of the Dozier-Libbey Class of 2019. Everyone had a niche and filled it well.”

She then read a rhyming poem about their shared experience, mentioning various teachers and activities.

Dozier Libbey 2019 graduate Stephen Caufield speaks during the ceremonies.

“You were an amazing class to learn with,” Shah concluded.

“Graduates, we did it,” Caufield said. “Four years ago, we started with a team of 200 students and here we are with a class of 135.”

He mentioned “wearing scrubs every day and being asked what hospital we worked at when we were not at school.”

“Never forget yesterday but, live for today because you never know what tomorrow will bring,” Caufield encouraged his fellow graduates.

Principal Scott Bergerhouse, ending his final year at the school, as he’ll be working in the district office, proudly shared some statistics of the graduating class.

“Seventy students of these 135 have a GPA of 3.0 and above,” he said. “Forty carry a 3.5 and above and 21 carry a 3.8 and above.”

“You have worked so hard…you have toed the line every step of the way. You will be leaders of our future,” Bergerhouse told the graduates. “All of you have touched the lives of our teachers and myself.”

Principal Scott Bergerhouse addresses the graduates.

“You must always stay focused on your good character,” he continued. “Don’t lose touch with these memories. Remember the past but focus on your future. The faculty and staff are proud of you.”

“Pinpoint your passion and remember, no job is beneath you,” concluded Bergerhouse.

Antioch Superintendent Stephanie Anello accepted the school’s Class of 2019, having met all the requirements to graduate. Board President Hack, and Trustees Diane Gibson Gray and Mary Rocha handed the graduates their diplomas. Trustees Crystal Sawyer-White and Ellie Householder were not in attendance.

Following that, valedictorian Culcasi shared her thoughts with her classmates.

Valedictorian Jewelina Culcasi was the final speaker of the evening’s ceremonies.

“We have had a great ride together. We are done. We are so done. We survived and worked hard to get here,” she stated. “We can go out into the world prepared.”

“If you don’t strive for excellence you will never achieve it,” Culcasi said. “Work hard. You will find more satisfaction if you work for your accomplishments than if they are handed to you.

“Moving forwarded our mission should be serving others with the talents God has given you,” she shared.

“The greatest among you will be servants,” Culcasi said quoting Matthew 23:11 from the Bible. “We all have our place in our society.”

She then thanked her teachers and “our families for putting up with us, not just the last four years, but all of our lives.”

“I hope all ya’ll enjoy your summer,” Culcasi concluded. “I wish you well…And God bless the Class of 2019”

Mughal and Marty Jerin Guzman, Co-Class Presidents then led the Tassel Ceremony to end the evening’s events.

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Live Oak High School grads, families celebrate accomplishment Wednesday night

Thursday, June 6th, 2019

Live Oak Class of 2019 celebrates Wed. night, June 5. Photos by Allen Payton.

Live Oak High grad Briana Garcia speaks as teacher Kathi Libbey listens.

By Allen Payton

The graduates of the other continuation high school in Antioch, Live Oak High School, and their families and friends celebrated the accomplishment during ceremonies, Wednesday evening, June 5. The event was held in the Beede Auditorium at Antioch High School under the leadership of Principal Tim Cooper.

“Go upstream against the herd. Do what you think is right not necessarily anyone else,” AUSD Board President Gary Hack told the graduates.

Student speakers included Briana Garcia and Alexandra “Ali” Chavez.

Garcia, who served as Vice President of Leadership, gave a moving speech about the loss of her mother, who died when she was in 7th grade and how that negatively affected her high school experience.

“I didn’t feel motivated or cared for at school which caused me to fail which brought me to Live Oak,” she said. “I decided to get my life together and get an education. Where I am today, I’ve made better life choices and I’m happy where I am. I’ve had the best high school experience here. The teachers and staff really care.”

Garcia thanked her sister and brother-in-law. “I definitely couldn’t have done this without you.”

She thanked her dad.

“I’m very proud of you” he responded from the audience.

Garcia thanked her teachers “for putting up with all of us.”

She thanked Principal Cooper and the office staff.

“You all have accepted me and helped me to grow,” Garcia continued. “Don’t ever give up because there’s always a plan for you and another road for you to go down.”

Graduate Alexandra “Ali” Chavez shared about her experience at Live Oak High.

Chavez spoke of her freshman and sophomore years, cutting class, smoking and drinking heavily before school.

“I was so low on credits it was almost impossible to graduate,” she said. “So, I came to Live Oak. It was the best decision my mom ever made. Thank you, mommy.”

“My first year at Live Oak I was on the Dean’s List. I had a 3.8 GPA,” Chavez shared. “The teachers here are going to push you. There is no getting left behind. I’m so thankful for all the teachers and staff for all their help.”

To her fellow graduates she said, “Let’s get out there and conquer this world.”

Awards were then presented to a variety of the graduates.

The Libbey Family Scholarship was presented to Jessica Moran-Zamora; the Knights of Columbus Scholarship was given to Maricela Cabrera, who made up 175 credits in a year and a half, had a 3.67 GPA with almost perfect attendance.

The Mayor’s Distinguished Student Award was also presented to Jessica Moran-Zamora; the Academic Award was presented to Mele Tonga who had the Highest GPA of 3.74; the Personal Growth Award, for the most improvement academically and personally, was presented to Yesenia Loera; and the Principal’s Award, which “embodies the academic side and all the other little things you would want to see in a student” said Principal Tim Cooper, was presented to Leslie Perez.

Principal Tim Cooper congratulated the graduates.

Cooper then shared his thoughts with the graduates.

“This is the time for you to chase your dreams. If you believe in yourself and what you want you can make it happen,” he said. “But you have to work at it. Nothing comes easy in life.

He then shared from people who offered what he should say on social media.

“I received over 100 responses,” Cooper said. “Here are some of the highlights from those who will be your peers. Follow your passion and talent. The money will follow. Dream big. Pay your taxes. Never burn a bridge. Learn from your mistakes. Celebrate your accomplishments. Be resilient.”

“It has truly been an honor to work with each and every one of you,” he concluded. “And remember, dreams don’t work unless you do.”

Antioch Superintendent Stephanie Anello accepted the school’s Class of 2019, having met all the requirements to graduate. Board President Hack and Trustees Diane Gibson Gray, Mary Rocha and Ellie Householder handed the graduates their diplomas. Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White was not in attendance.

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Bidwell High grads and families celebrate commencement Wednesday evening

Thursday, June 6th, 2019

The Bidwell High Class of 2019 graduates turn their tassels at the end of the ceremonies, Wed., June 5, 2019. Photos by Allen Payton.

Bidwell grad Kearve Williams speaks while Antioch School Board President Gary Hacks looks on.

By Allen Payton

The 49 graduates of one of Antioch’s two continuation high schools, Bidwell High School, and their families and friends celebrated the accomplishment during ceremonies, Wednesday evening, June 5. The event was held at the Deer Valley High School theater under the leadership of Principal Carol Lowart.

Student speakers included Kearve Williams and Jennifer Ramos. He thanked his teachers and school staff for helping the students overcome their challenges and reach their goals.

Ramos thanked her teachers “for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself,” offering her speech in both English and Spanish.

“You owe me money if you bet I wouldn’t be here,” she said jokingly, but then got serious. “We’re all destined for something greater. We were given a second chance and we won’t take that for granted.”

Bidwell High grad Jennifer Ramos speaks during commencement ceremonies.

Awards were given to a variety of the graduates: the Principal’s Award went to Kiave Williams; the Academic Achievement Awards were given to Mahogany Oliver and Jose Viveros; Most Improved award was presented to Lataevia Beverly; the Citizen Award was given to Joselin Silva Castro; the Perseverance Award was presented to Kimore Brown; the Spirit Award was given to Irving Castenda, and the Knights of Columbus $500 Scholarship was awarded to Zamalah Shook.

“It was a memorable year,” said Principal Lowart. “These students worked very hard. We are extremely proud of you and look forward to what you will do in the future.”

Antioch Superintendent Stephanie Anello accepted the school’s Class of 2019, having met all the requirements to graduate. School Board President Gary Hack and Trustees Diane Gibson Gray, Mary Rocha and Ellie Householder handed the graduates their diplomas. Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White was not in attendance.

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Six Antioch students part of UC Merced’s largest graduating class, one with honors

Thursday, May 30th, 2019

More than 1,300 students took part in UC Merced’s Spring Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19. Students receiving their bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees were honored together, with Chancellor Dorothy Leland delivering the keynote addresses in her final commencement as chancellor of UC Merced.

Graduates from Antioch include:

Adebowale Adedeji — B.S. Biological Sciences

Tanvi Sareen — B.S. Cognitive Science

David Satyadi — B.S. Bioengineering

Ashley Tejada — B.S. Biological Sciences

Dominique Unubun — B.A. Psychology

Ryanjit Virk — B.S. Biological Sciences (graduated with high honors)

Members of the 2009 graduating class — the first graduating class in UC Merced’s history — took part in the ceremonies. This year’s graduating class is the largest in UC Merced history.

UC Merced opened in 2005 as the newest member of the University of California system, and is the youngest university to earn a Carnegie research classification. The fastest-growing public university in the nation, UC Merced enjoys a special connection with nearby Yosemite National Park, is on the cutting edge of sustainability in campus construction and design, and supports high-achieving and dedicated students from the underserved San Joaquin Valley and throughout California. The Merced 2020 Project, a $1.3 billion public-private partnership that is unprecedented in higher education, will nearly double the physical capacity of the campus and support enrollment growth to 10,000 students. 

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