Class of 2010
Opportunities bring responsibilities, say this year's grads
They stand on the bridge, with one foot in Pleasanton and the other poised to step into the future. College and careers await some of the 2010 graduates; others will likely head off to work or into military service. Some may roam the world, while others stay close to the comforts of family and home.
The futures of the graduates are theirs to decide, and the speakers at this week's commencements at both Foothill and Amador Valley high schools want their peers to know that the choices they make, whatever they may be, will come with responsibilities.
Foothill Valedictorian Prihatha Narasimmaraj, who is headed to Princeton, wants members of the class of 2010 to know that their intelligence and morality can change the world.
"Our vitality and our willingness to learn is what makes our generation so powerful and gives us so much hope for the future," Narasimmaraj said.
Foothill Salutatorian Joon Park wants his class to consider a quote from John D. Rockefeller: "Every right implies a responsibility, every opportunity, every possession, a duty."
"Living in Pleasanton is an opportunity," Park said. "I feel like all these students here should take advantage of this opportunity."
Park, who will attend UC Berkeley, plans to tell his classmates to remember the obligations that come with those opportunities.
That theme was continued by Amador Valley's Valedictorian William Chen.
"You have the power to influence people. You can start with one person, or join an organization to amplify your voice," said Chen, who will start at Harvard this fall.
Amador Valley Salutatorian Krishna Bommakanti called high school just one of the stages the grads will go through.
"The experiences we've had helped us find a future and career," Bommakanti said. "I'm sure high school has done that for everybody."
Bommakanti will also attend UC Berkeley.
All four students thanked their parents, not only for their support, but "for putting up with constant change," Narasimmaraj said, and "for giving me the freedom to do what I want," Park said.
They've worked hard for the last four years, agreed the valedictorians and salutatorians, and they said in their immediate future they will likely make up for one thing they all said they missed while attending school: sleep.
In all, 1,209 students will graduate from Pleasanton schools this year: 630 from Amador Valley; 515 from Foothill; 54 from Village; and 10 from Horizon.
Both Horizon and Village held their ceremonies Wednesday.
For the third year, graduation ceremonies for Foothill and Amador Valley will be held at their football fields. This marks the final year Superintendent John Casey will be part of the commencement. He'll be at Amador Valley's commencement, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Former Foothill principal Kevin Johnson, now Senior Director of Pupil Services, will represent the district at that graduation ceremony, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Johnson's daughter is among the graduates.
The school board will also split its membership, with Valerie Arkin, Jamie Hintzke and Jim Ott attending the Amador Valley graduation and Chris Grant at Foothill's ceremony.
Although great opportunities -- and responsibilities -- lie ahead for the class of 2010, the four graduation speakers said are looking forward to crossing their bridges into the future and exploring the paths that lie ahead.