Antioch High School sends off 400 graduates

The Antioch High School class of 2021 celebrates their graduation while remaining socially distanced in Eels Stadium, Friday night. Photos by Jesus Cano.

Valedictorian is just 13-year-old 

By Jesus Cano

Principal Louie Rocha called the class of 2021 a special group of people.

Principal Louie Rocha has gone through 21 graduation commencements but, says that the Antioch High School class of 2021 stand out as a special group due to all they had to go through because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was impressed that they placed the welfare of their loved ones before their own self-interest. School closure resulted in missed school activities and milestone events,” Rocha said. “I am so very proud of the class of 2021 throughout their high school years,” he continued. “I have been impressed how they come together to support one another during some challenging times.”

Ceremonies for the final of six high school graduations for the Antioch Unified School District, this week, were held in the school’s Eells Stadium.

13-year-old Ella Nguyen could be the youngest valedictorian in Antioch High School history.

13-year-old Ella Nguyen was this year’s valedictorian, perhaps the youngest in Antioch High School history. She congratulated her classmates as they went through 12 years to earn their diplomas and battled through the COVID-19 pandemic. (See related article)

“But after 15 months of being shut in confined isolation. It is especially important to recognize that we as a class of 2021 are more than this academic achievement,” Ella said. “But I know for a fact that from joy to misery, passion to empathy, spring to summer to fall to winter, through the year in solitude. It was your final year of high school, you’ve made it.”

Senior ASB president Arianna Grady’s opening speech emphasized with her classmates about being people of color and not letting negative stereotypes deter them from the success that they could have. Grady did so by introducing a quote Malcom X said during an interview.

ASB President Arianna Grady addresses her peers for a final time during Antioch’s commencement ceremony Friday night.

“Malcolm’s quote made me think of how we have allowed people to construct our mindsets, the way we are perceived, perceive others and how we respond to others’ beliefs,” Grady said. “To that I say refuse. Refuse to allow yourself to be manipulated. Refuse to conform based on others’ beliefs. Refuse to be anything but unapologetically you. Question everything you read. Find your truth, with a school that has 85% racial and ethnic minorities.”

Antioch also honored fallen classmate Andrew Gonzalez, who passed away during his sophomore year of high school in a car accident on James Donlon Blvd.

400 students graduated this year from Antioch High School, according to Rocha.

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ASB President Arianna Grady


Antioch High 2021 graduates


AHS Valedictorian Ella Nguyen


AHS Principal Louie Rocha


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