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Lucerne Valley High School seniors overcome adversity to graduate

In World
June 04, 2024

Tears flowed and confetti flew as 55 seniors from the Lucerne Valley Class of 2024 graduated inside a packed Ron Peavy Football Field on Thursday night.

Family, friends and supporters cheered for the graduates, who endured hardships and challenges, but always rose to embrace the positive, Lucerne Valley Unified School District officials said.

The graduation ceremony began with Principal Jason Story welcoming guests, followed by the procession of graduates onto the field.

The Lucerne Valley Rangers, including senior Evan Herriman, presented the Colors.

Tears flowed and confetti flew as 55 seniors from the Lucerne Valley Class of 2024 graduated inside a packed Ron Peavy Football Field on Thursday, May 30, 2024.

Tears flowed and confetti flew as 55 seniors from the Lucerne Valley Class of 2024 graduated inside a packed Ron Peavy Football Field on Thursday, May 30, 2024.

A time of adversity

“In 2020, this class didn’t get to come back to middle school due to the COVID pandemic,” said keynote speaker Assistant Superintendent Nate Lambdin, who came to Lucerne Valley Middle High School as its principal in 2018. “For the class of 2024, they had to go through distance learning and adversity, but they overcame.”

Fighting back tears, Lambdin remembered coming to school one Monday morning in April 2020 to learn — as did everyone in the school — that classmates, Kayden Davis and Kristy Klaus, had lost their lives in a vehicle accident on the east end of Lucerne Valley.

“The news shook the entire community,” he said. “The love for Kayden and Kristy brought this class even more together.”

Kayden Davis and Kristy Klaus were recognized as honorary graduates, school officials said.

Tears flowed and confetti flew as 55 seniors from the Lucerne Valley Class of 2024 graduated inside a packed Ron Peavy Football Field on Thursday, May 30, 2024.

Tears flowed and confetti flew as 55 seniors from the Lucerne Valley Class of 2024 graduated inside a packed Ron Peavy Football Field on Thursday, May 30, 2024.

Lambdin also gave the graduates advice, telling them to prepare for unexpected ups and downs.

He said, “Take control of your life by taking control of your emotions,” and “Don’t confuse feelings with facts.” And finally, “Don’t settle for a little life, fill it up.”

Remembering the victories

The class also recalled many highs, like three seniors leading the Mustang boys to their first-ever soccer league championship.

Members of the senior class received more scholarships than any other previously.

The Lucerne Valley Rangers program, with senior Evan Herriman leading his fellow cadets to a resounding success.

The FFA program, where several of the senior top students spent many hours, continues to cast a bright light across the community, school officials said.

Tears flowed and confetti flew as 55 seniors from the Lucerne Valley Class of 2024 graduated inside a packed Ron Peavy Football Field on Thursday, May 30, 2024.

Tears flowed and confetti flew as 55 seniors from the Lucerne Valley Class of 2024 graduated inside a packed Ron Peavy Football Field on Thursday, May 30, 2024.

Seniors in the school’s Career and Technical Education programs made a big impact.

In short, said Lambdin, who is retiring after 35 years in education, “You can accomplish anything.”

At the beginning of his speech, Lambdin handed out “confetti cannons” followed by him leading the “fun, noisy and colorful ceremony,” district officials said.

Afterward, Superintendent Peter Livingston gave an emotional tribute to “his friend,” who he said, made an incalculable impact on the school and district.

Students spotlighted

Yanet Alcazar, the winner of the prestigious Crystal Mustang Award, led off the list of student speakers. A leader in her class who served as FFA Chapter president this year, Yanet spoke of the support from her family, most notably her mother and siblings.

Valedictorian Itzel Ramirez Tapia also spoke of her family. She explained that her father, who wakes up at 4:30 every morning to put food on the table, didn’t graduate high school because he moved to the U.S. to better his family.

“This one’s for you,” Itzel said.

Salutatorian Kevin Angeles, who will attend the University of California, Berkeley in the fall, remembered the fun times and thanked valedictorian Itzel for her support.

The top GPA-earning graduates were Tapia, Angeles, Emilia Daniels, Dylnn Cagle and Mariah Navarrete.

The Counselor’s Award went to Elizabeth Rick, while the Principal’s Choice Award was given to Thomas Grandjean III.

The district also recognized retirees Lillian Thomason, Francis Muller, and Lambdin.

Principal Story presented the Lucerne Valley High School Class of 2024 followed by the Acceptance of the Class by School Board President Chelsea LaGrange.

Counselor Kevin Barda and Executive Office member Adriana Barajas presented the diplomas. Student Serenity Petroff led the Tassel Ceremony.

The remaining graduates include:

Alessandra Aguilar Calderon, Yanet Alcazar, Juan Alonzo, Phoebe Anders, Natalie Andrade Avina, Aliana Arias, Jair Baez, Austin Balloue, Andres Barrita Martinez, Xavier Bedolla, Cecilia Briceno, Mallorie Bryant, Erick Calderon, Yesenia Cazales, Angel Cortes, Christopher Da Silva, Tommy Diaz, Alejandro Duran, Octavio Garibay, Bryan Gonzalez, Julie Gonzalez, Miah Gonzalez, Joshua-Gonzalez-Naranjo, Thomas Grandjean III, Emelyn Herrera, Evan Herriman, Eein Hite, Diego Juarez, Shyann Kerestessy, Leonel Lopez, Vincent Martinez, Juan Mendoza Cardenas, Rozibet Meza, Madison Miller, Angel Montero Sanchez, Xavier Murillo, Serenity Petroff, Randy Resendiz, Elizabeth Rick, Cameron Robinson, Angel Sierra, Ryker Simmons, Viarey Siranda, Landon Skjerve, Nathaniel Thomas Bhojwani, Derrick Tyler, Gregory Watkins, and Ethan Wood.

Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on X @DP_ReneDeLaCruz

This article originally appeared on Victorville Daily Press: Lucerne Valley High School seniors overcome adversity to graduate

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