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September 26, 2022

SBHS graduation: ‘It’s now, life starts’

As the two San Benito High School students looked out at their senior class clad in red and white gowns in a single-file line on the baseball field, the enormity of the future started to take shape.
“It’s unreal. It’s completely unreal. It still hasn’t hit me,” said Brandon Zamora, 17, as he waited in line to walk to his seat in the ceremony. “It’s now, life starts.”
Classmate Shelby Wright, 17, had the same moment earlier that morning when she looked in the mirror and suddenly saw a young adult staring back at her.
“I’m just looking in the mirror and it’s like kind of flashing back to younger me, older me, and am I really graduating?” she said.
The students were two of hundreds graduating from Hollister’s main high school Friday in a ceremony that started at 10 a.m. in a large field on campus.
Zamora will enter the Army in September. Wright will be moving to Brigham Young University in Idaho in the fall where she’s currently undecided on her career track, though she’s entered the school in communication with an emphasis in journalism.
Standing by the gates to the crowd of family and well-wishers was Eric Johnson, the principal of Southside School who stepped away from his campus Friday morning to briefly greet his former students, a tradition he has maintained for 15 years.
“They’re all so grown up,” he said.
Johnson knows about 20 to 25 of the students and had three of his own children go through the school over the years, though none were in line this year.
“I hugged a bunch of them,” he said.
As the students took to their seats and the speakers took to the podium, ASB President Kali Smiley reminded her classmates about the power of hard work. She reminded them to work through problems and for good causes, such as important relationships or an improved community.
“No matter what we do, there is one thing we must all do and that is work,” she said. “Class of 2015, life isn’t easy but it is simple. Put everything you have into everything you do.”
The graduating seniors also shared a few laughs about the graduate trip, which became complicated last weekend when the charter buses selected to ferry students to Disneyland backed out, causing staff to send them on a fleet of school buses. When a vehicle broke down halfway there, the students crowded into the other buses and sat three to a seat.
“You thought the 12-hour ride to Disneyland was hard. Life is tough,” said Superintendent John Perales. “You must face many obstacles in life and must never give up.”
Perales also told students to have a dream because life without one was like a car without gas that gets nowhere.
Principal Todd Dearden also took the stage in his first graduation address as the school’s principal.
“The present is now the past,” he said. “What tomorrow brings depends on you.”
He told students to create a plan for future needs and interests, not just present ones; stick to the plan; and embrace change so you can keep growing.
“Class of 2015, do something that matters,” he said. “Congratulations.”

Katie Helland
A staff member edited this provided article.

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