By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Graduations - School Prepares
0529 Val Sal
Salutatorian Casey Pettitt, left, and Valedictorian Victor Alvarado will lead the Class of 2013 into graduation ceremonies on Friday night at Engel Field. Marg Jackson/The Times

Graduation will take up three nights this week in Escalon, with the first one set for this evening, Wednesday, May 29.

The graduates of Vista High School will gather in the Performing Arts Center on the high school campus at 6:30 p.m. tonight to receive their diplomas from the continuation high school.

On Thursday, May 30, the estimated 210 graduates at El Portal Middle School will have their eighth grade commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. on Engel Field with student speaker Briana Brasil and presentation of the Certificated Employee of the Year award made to English teacher Rochele Hesse from El Portal.

On Friday night, the Class of 2013 at Escalon High School will graduate in a 7 p.m. ceremony on Engel Field. There are an estimated 215 seniors that will be graduating and speakers will include Senior Class President Illiana Cajias, Valedictorian Victor Alvarado, and the National Anthem sung by ASB President Taylor Carnes. Salutatorian Casey Pettitt may also offer some remarks. The Classified Employee of the Year award will go to Sheila Garside.

The top two students for the graduating class at EHS both carry a full load of courses this year and are involved in a variety of extracurricular activities.

“I didn’t even really know until my sophomore year that I could do this,” Alvarado admitted of striving to be the top student. “I’ve always tried my best, I’ve just tried to beat myself, do better than I did before.”

He plans to attend UCLA and major in biochemistry with the goal of becoming a doctor. The son of Maria Alvarado, he has five siblings and said his years at Escalon High were all good, with not one specific memory emerging above the rest.

“It’s a great school,” he said.

For Pettitt, the daughter of Tom Pettitt and Janey Casey, she has two siblings and has enjoyed pushing herself academically.

“I just keep in mind the end result, what I can accomplish if I stay focused,” she said.

She admitted that balancing schoolwork and extracurricular activities is a bit of a challenge sometimes.

“It just always seems to work out, though, but I’m not really sure how it all gets done,” she said, smiling.

She plans to start college at Delta and then transfer to UC Davis with a double major of psychology and history, looking to become either a teacher or a psychologist.

The Friday night graduation ceremony will be followed later by the Sober Grad Night party designed for seniors, giving the Class of 2013 a fun, safe, sober environment to celebrate their accomplishment.