Windy night for Antioch High graduation as Principal Rocha says farewell

The Antioch High School Class of 2022 graduates celebrate Friday night, June 10, 2022. Photos by Allen D. Payton

Presented with “graduation diploma” by his mother, Antioch School Board Trustee Mary Rocha

Once a Panther, always a Panther” – Principal LouiRocha

The Antioch High Music Masters perform “The Star Spangled Banner”.

By Allen D. Payton

On a warm, blustery night inside Eells Stadium, the 370 Antioch High School Class of 2022 graduates celebrated each other and their principal, Louie Rocha who was honored by his mother, Antioch School Board Trustee Mary Rocha, with a retirement diploma, as he ends his 37 years in education.

Following the performance of the traditional Pomp and Circumstance by the AHS Concert Band and Orchestra under the direction of Brooke Kofford, as the graduates filed in, and the presentation of colors of the U.S. and California flags by the Marine Corps, they accompanied the Music Masters, under the direction of Sarah Phelan on The Star Spangled Banner. The Music Masters also sang “Not to Say Goodbye” and “Dry Your Tears, Afrika” to the graduating seniors.

Associated Student Body President Amirah Sam Marie Johnson welcomed her classmates, and their family and friends in the stands.

“I would like to welcome you to the commencement ceremony. I love being the center of attention,” she said with a laugh. “I kinda dreaded this day. The day we graduate. When we will have to pay our own phone bill.”

ASB President Amira Sam Marie Johnson speaks to her classmates and welcomes all to the graduation.

“Always take the time to acknowledge your accomplishments,” Johnson encouraged the graduates. “Your tolerance is what will get you through. Goodbye, Class of 2022.”

The Antioch High Concert Band and Orchestra accompany the Music Masters on several songs.

ASB Vice President and Antioch’s Youth of the Year, Giovanni Guillermo Terrones spoke next saying, “The words ‘we’ll be a fine line’ have…helped me keep going through my time at Antioch High School.”

“As the song continues, it says the words, ‘we’ll be alright’ and that’s something I believe that we will all be,” Terrones continued. “Be all proud of yourselves, guys. We got here.”

“I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22,” he said quoting the title of a song. “I want you to be proud of yourselves for everything you have accomplished.”

ASB VP Giovanni Guillermo Terrones speaks.

He spoke of his mother using Google translate to help him with his homework, translating Spanish into English and then thanked his parents. Terrones then gave part of his speech in Spanish and enough students understood to cheer.

“It is time to pursue our passions…leave a lasting impact on the world,” he implored his classmates. “To me the most profound impact we can make is by supporting and caring for others and leaving their days with a little more positivity and hope.”

Terrones then turned and took a selfie with his cell phone while his classmates cheered in the background.

“Again, congratulations. It’s been a rocky four years, but we did it,” he concluded.

Principal Louie Rocha then introduced the Salutatorian and Valedictorian.

Salutatorian Eilana Sbranti Cordova, who was also the Senior Class President spoke first, saying, “We’ve survived so much Just as we were trying to get comfortable the pandemic hit.”

Salutatorian and Senior Class President Eilana Sbranti Cordova speaks to the graduates.

“As I was…reflecting on my high school years, I was reminded of one good thing from freshman year, then another from sophomore year,” she said. “We were still able to have a fun prom…now, graduation.”

“As we take our next steps there will be hard times. But we need to focus on the good things,” Cordova said. “Hold onto the positive moments and let the negative ones go.”

“I want to give a congratulations to the Class of 2022. Just remember, we are all in this together,” she added.

Valedictorian Giselle Beatriz Cabello shared thoughts of her high school experience.

“Throughout my journey I was also able to meet new people who brought out the best in me,” she said. “I will never forget the moments I created in high school. One of these lessons, although corny as it may seem, no one can decide what you’re going to be.”

Valedictorian Giselle Beatriz Cabello speaks of her high school experience.

I want to thank my parents for always being there for me. They came here like many other parents to give me a better life,” Cabello stated.

“I believe our class has so much potential in making a positive difference in this world,” she added.

Principal Rocha then took some time to reflect on the Class of 2022 and what t

We are all back together after three years

It’s a bittersweet moment” he said, since it was his final graduation as he heads toward retirement.

“To the students who TP’d my office I did appreciate the love,” Rocha said with a laugh.

He spoke of the students and their, “dedication and commitment, but mostly their perseverance during the COVID pandemic. Their accomplishment required support from family.”

He then introduced his own mother and father, and wife of 36 years, who were all in attendance. He asked the audience to give a standing ovation to the graduates. He later asked the graduates to stand and thank their families which they did with a cheer.

Louie Rocha speaks to a graduating class of Antioch High School for the final time as principal.

AUSD Trustee Mary Rocha presents her son, AHS Principal Louie Rocha with his “retirement diploma”.

“Do not allow others to place limits on your dreams and goals,” Rocha stated. “Remember Antioch High School will always be a place you can call home. Once a Panther, always a Panther.”

He then called his mother, School Board Trustee Mary Rocha to the stage. She first spoke in Spanish to the parents then in English.

“Today we celebrate you,” Trustee Rocha said to the graduates. “To face the challenge of attending school for two years online, for doing your homework when it was so easy to stay in bed. Now, you’re on your way to fulfill your dreams and the dreams your family has for you.”

She mentioned the fact that in 1979 she presented Louie with his diploma.

“Tonight I present him with his retirement diploma,” Trustee Rocha said. “We’re very proud of you, dad and I.”

She then presented Principal Rocha with a “retirement diploma”.

AUSD Superintendent Stephanie Anello then accepted the class having completed the requirements as set forth by the Antioch School Board and the State of California.

Trustee Rocha was joined by her husband Louie, Sr., Trustee Dr. Clyde Lewis, Antioch City Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock as well as Superintendent Anello near the stage to watch the handing out of diplomas.

But unlike at the Dozier-Libbey and Deer Valley graduations, the AHS student leaders gave the graduates their diplomas.

Student body and class leaders read the graduates’ names as the diplomas are handed out.

Class President Cordova then led the tassel ceremony to conclude the proceedings. A few of the graduates tossed their caps as they all cheered along with family and friends in the stands.

Congratulations Antioch High School Class of 2022! May God bless you in your future pursuits and endeavors.

MORE PHOTOS of the AHS Class of 2022 Graduation

AHS grads enter the field in front of the scoreboard with their class year as the time and score.

At Principal Rocha’s urging, the Class of 2022 grads cheer their parents in the stands.

Graduate Anthony Walker shows what school he’s heading to on his cap as another grad shows his diploma to family in the stands.

A strong wind blows across the field while Principal Louie Rocha speaks to the graduates. AUSD Superintendent Stephanie Anello accepts the graduates.

Graduate Chelsea Silver celebrates receiving her diploma.

A grad speaks with someone in the stands. The final group of grads to receive their diplomas get a bit rowdy.

The grads celebrate following the turning of the tassels ceremony.


the attachments to this post:

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AHS Principal Louie Rocha & Sup Stephanie Anello 061022

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