Antioch’s Bidwell High graduates largest class in school history

Bidwell High graduated 106 seniors Wednesday night, June 16, the largest graduating class in school history. Photos by Jesus Cano

By Jesus Cano

Graduate Xotchil Ramirez thanks Bidwell’s teachers and staff for helping the class of 2021 graduate.

One of first-year principal Raj Naicker’s goals was to get more students to graduate from Antioch’s Bidwell High School, especially since many students entered the school with low credits at the alternative high school. (See ceremony video)

Naicker and his administration were able to reach that goal, as Bidwell High had its largest graduating class in school history with 106 students receiving their diplomas as part of the class of 2021, during ceremonies, Wednesday night, June 16 at the Deer Valley High School stadium

Naicker admits his goal came with a little bit of assistance as he said the Antioch Unified School District lowered the amount of credits to graduate this year from 220 to 130. He credits his administration staff with being much more interactive with the students and motivating them to graduate.

“I entered this school with a very open heart, with a very open mind,” Naicker said. “And my goal was to make sure to provide them opportunities to take classes in multiple ways, so that they could end those credits and graduate on time.”

Among the 108 students that graduated, Xotchil Ramirez and Angelique Romero were chosen to speak. Both of them touched on coming into Bidwell in a credit deficit but were able to preserve through Bidwell.

“I was told I could graduate if I went to Bidwell and I was excited to see what I could truly accomplish,” Ramirez said in her speech. “I was able to develop such amazing relationships with my fellow classmates and teachers as they helped me and all of us to where we are today.”

Antioch School Board Vice President Dr. Clyde Lewis speaks to Bidwell’s graduating class.

Bidwell was truly a very welcoming place where students can get a warm feeling of accomplishment, and the confidence that drives them forward,” Romero said in her speech. “I got help every step of the way, and never once felt alone.”

Antioch Unified School District trustee Dr. Clyde Lewis spoke at the graduation ceremony and recounted his days of growing up in East Oakland – an area that has a similar demographic to the students at Bidwell.

“Once we have success. It’s easy to build. It’s not easy, but it’s possible to build on that success,” Lewis said. “So, it’s important that we sort of really highlight that these kids are graduating, and then we push them and provide them opportunities.”

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AUSD Board VP Dr. Clyde Lewis speaks to the graduates


Student Xotchil Ramirez speaks to her classmates


Bidwell High Class of 2021


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