Deer Valley graduates celebrate making it through their challenging final years of school

The Deer Valley High School Class of 2022 graduates receive their diplomas on stage during the ceremony inside Wolverine Stadium Friday morning, June 10, 2022. Photos by Allen D. Payton.

DVHS Salutatorian Ellie Yin introduces the Divine Voices to sing the National Anthem.

By Allen D. Payton

The Deer Valley High School Class of 2022 celebrated during their graduation ceremonies Friday morning, June 10, after overcoming the challenges of COVID they faced during their final school years, including remote learning, social distancing and wearing masks. The graduates were reminded of that in more than one speech that morning in their final time as students inside Wolverine Stadium.

While the audience awaited the arrival of the graduates on the field, the Deer Valley High School Band performed several songs under the leadership of Music Director Larry Widner.

Following the traditional performance of Pomp and Circumstance by the DVHS Band, and the Presentation of Colors of the U.S. and California state flags by representatives of the U.S. Marine Corps, the National Anthem was performed by the Deer Valley Divine Voices, who were introduced by Salutatorian Ellie Yin.

Senior Class President William Rogers offers a brief speech during the ceremony.

Dr. Bukky Oyebade, principal of Deer Valley High spoke about the challenges the graduates faced during COVID.

“For some just getting out of bed was very difficult,” she said to laughter. “You’re a group of young men and women who have demonstrated resilience day in and day out. Give yourselves a round of applause.”

“Don’t forget to demonstrate those skills you learned at DVHS,” Oyebade continued.  “Don’t forget to be kind to others. When others expect you to dim your light and conform to darkness, shine anyways.”

Antioch School Board Trustee Dr. Clyde Lewis reminded the class of their past while encouraging them for having what he called the “wolverine spirit”.

“The last few years have been challenging to say the least. COVID, shutdowns, economic uncertainty, and a whole lot more,” he stated. “I can only imagine what it was like trying to navigate all of those things while also planning for the future. The fact that you are here proves you have the wolverine spirit. Simply that you did not give up shows that you have the wolverine spirit. Through it all, you not only persevered, but you also thrived, which again exhibits that you have the wolverine spirit.”

Class of 2022 Valedictorian Colby Ye offers encouraging words to his fellow graduates.

“People who exhibit the wolverine spirit are typically fearless and are not intimated by anything. They are risk-takers and are so focused on their pursuits that the thought of failure does not stop them from their mission,” Lewis continued on the theme. “The wolverine spirit is bold trendsetters who go against the grain to accomplish their goals. Wolverines are never scared and are determined to attain their goals. Does this sound like anyone we know? I stand before a group of wolverines who have already shown they are tenacious enough to overcome the many twists and turns of the last few years.”

Senior Class President William Rogers offered the first student speech. Speaking of the future, he said his classmates will see “stuff we’ve never seen before. We’re going to make an impact on this world, so let’s make it a good one. We are here. So, let’s not stop, now.”

Valedictorian Colby Ye spoke next saying “Four years. We made it. We worked hard, struggled, played.”

He spoke of “showing up to class without pants” to laughter from the graduates.

“Take the experiences that you’ve had here and use them,” Ye continued. “Set your heart ablaze. Live your life with passion. For with passion nothing is out of reach.”

“Fill your life with fun. But remember fill your life with passion,” he concluded.

AUSD Superintendent Stephanie Anello stepped in to give Sarina Turnage her diploma.

Trustee Rocha presents a graduate with her diploma.

AUSD Superintendent Stephanie Anello then formally accepted the graduates.

“As the Superintendent of the Antioch Unified School District, it is my distinct honor to accept the 2022 graduating class from Deer Valley High School,” she said. “Upon the recommendation of the faculty and on behalf of the Antioch Unified School District Board of Education, I certify that each of you has completed the graduation requirements set forth by the Antioch Unified School District. Having completed these requirements, I confer upon each of you the high school diploma with all of its rights, honors, and responsibilities.”

“Henceforth, you are to be considered high school graduates and alumni of Deer Valley High School,” she said to cheers from the graduates. “Congratulations,” Anello added.”

Trustee Lewis congratulates one of the graduates.

The Divine Voices under the leadership of Choral Director Georgia Friend, performed two more songs, “A Blessing” and “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye to Yesterday”.

The names of the graduating seniors were then read by Math Department Chair Maria McClain and math instructor Jessika Tate, as the diplomas were handed out by and photos taken with Dr. Lewis and school board Trustee Mary Rocha.

Following the tassel ceremony led by Class President Rogers, teacher and cross-country coach Mike Green who served as Master of Ceremonies for the event, offered closing remarks. Only a few of the graduates tossed their caps into the air, and then very orderly followed their former principal off the field to meet their family and friends to celebrate.

The DVHS band performed the recessional as Widener directed them for the final time as he is retiring, this year.

Congratulations, Deer Valley Class of 2022. May God bless you in your future pursuits!

A video of the graduation ceremony by DVTV can be viewed on the district’s YouTube Channel here and here.

Music Director Larry Widener leads the DVHS band for a final time.

MORE PHOTOS of the DVHS Class of 2022 Graduation

The DVHS grads file in.

Trustee Lewis presents graduate Nnamdi Egu with his diploma.

Teacher and cross-country coach Mike Green served as MC for the ceremony.

The DVHS Class of 2022 grads turn their tassels.

Dr. Bukky Oyebade leads the graduates off the field to awaiting family and friends during the recessional.


the attachments to this post:

DVHS Dr. Bukky Oyebade leads the recessional 061022

DVHS the grads turn their tassels 061022

DVHS MC Mike Green speaks

DVHS graduates seated

DVHS grads listen to speakers awaiting their diplomas

DVHS grads listen to principal

DVHS Diplomas 16

DVHS Diplomas 15

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