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Gridley Herald

Lions Leave the Jungle

Jun 06, 2024 12:21PM ● By Seti Long, photos by Seti Long

These Lions are ready to take on the world after graduation!

LIVE OAK, CA (MPG) - Friday night, 8 p.m., and the town of Live Oak is quiet…except for the roar of noise coming from Arostegui Stadium and Live Oak High School’s Class of 2024 Graduation.

Live Oak High School is known for its rousing graduation ceremonies where families and friends are encouraged to cheer on their graduates as long as they are respectful of others.

This year was no different. Live Oak High School Principal Tony Walton emceed the evening, welcoming guests to “the jungle” as the Class of 2024 made its way onto the field to the Guns n’ Roses song of the same name (“Welcome to the Jungle”).

Valedictorian Amanvir Singh, left, walks onto the stage with classmate Leonardo Perez with hands held high in victory.

Respecting the diversity of the community, a welcome was recited in three languages, English, Punjabi and Spanish, before Class President Vanessa Perez, Salutatorian Jasmeen Bassi, and Valedictorians Katherine Hutchinson and Amanvir Singh spoke to the large crowd.

The Class of 2024 boasted about their excellence in athletics with the boys’ soccer team taking section championships in 2021 and 2022, the girls’ soccer team section championship in 2023, girls’ tennis being undefeated in league in 2023, championships in girls’ tracks in 2023 and back-to-back section championships in girls’ wrestling for years 2021, 2022 and 2023.

In addition, the Class of 2024 took a huge sense of pride in the cumulative 5,039 hours of community service they performed.

Live Oak High School Class of 2024 had the distinction of starting their high school career on Zoom due to the Covid-19 pandemic, overcoming the many challenges that presented over the following four years.

Perez said, “High school has been more than just stressful classes and exams. It has been a state of self-discovery, growth and unforgettable memories. We’ve navigated through the difficulties of adolescence, balancing academics with extracurriculars, sports, jobs and our social lives. We’ve learned from our successes and also our mistakes. We’ve discovered our passions, strengthened our skills and formed bonds that will last a lifetime.”

Bassi added, “I think I speak on the behalf of everyone here when I say we are fortunate to learn from teachers who not only provided us an education but take the time to connect with students and inspire us to pursue our dreams.”

The first valedictorian of the evening to speak, Singh related to the crowd a game of chess he had been playing earlier with Principal Walton. Singh was not faring well. After close examination, Singh discovered that the game he thought he was hopelessly losing could be turned around by one single move. Implementing that move, the tides turned and he was suddenly winning.

Singh reminded his classmates that it was the same with life, saying, “We all had these challenges throughout our years but each time, all it took was one move in the right direction. That one move led us to our success, triumph and the happy memories we had along the way.” He continued, “Just remember, regardless of what challenges you might face in the next chapter of your lives, you’re always one move from victory.”

Valedictorian Hutchison was the last to speak before diplomas were handed out. She said, “If I were to impart one thing to the people here today, it would be this: take initiative. Thank the people you’re grateful for, tell your loved ones you love them. Fight for the things and people that you believe in.”

Hutchison ended with, “I wish you all nothing more than the greatest happiness throughout your life. It might be naive but I truly believe in our futures. And if it’s a choice, I’ll choose optimism every time.”

With that, each student crossed the stage, taking their diploma in hand while Principal Walton shared their future plans with the crowd, and they reunited with their classmates one last time before heading off into their future.

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