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High School Next Stop For El Portal Graduates
Academic Excellence medals were handed out for those students achieving a 4.0 GPA throughout their eighth grade year, with Principal Mark Vos and assistant principal Mike Gaston presenting the medals. - photo by Marg Jackson/The Times

Eighth grade students from El Portal enjoyed their promotion ceremony on Thursday night, June 1, leaving middle school behind and getting ready to enter high school in the fall.

Staged on the Escalon High School football field, family and friends fill the stands at Engel Field for the ceremony.

After the El Portal Band provided the processional as staff and students filed in, Student Body President Malia Babasa offered a welcome and Student Body Vice-President Hannah Underwood led the flag salute.

There were a number of awards presented, from Teacher Recognition to Presidential Physical Fitness, Exemplary Citizenship, Exceptional Growth and Academic Excellence.

Student speaker Alayna Azevedo spoke on “The Sweet and Sour of Middle School” and Angelina Morones-Alvarez took the podium to speak on “Transitions through Middle School.” Both student speakers praised their classmates for growth and achievements and said they believed they should enter high school with confidence.

Classified Employee of the Year honors went to Frank Gally, who serves in the district maintenance department.

“I’m humbled and honored to be chosen,” said Gally, as I work with so many great people.”

Principal Mark Vos provided the address and asked the crowd and students to first rise and provide applause for the staff and administration that helped the eighth graders reach their promotion ceremony.

He spoke on the difference between gifts and choices, noting that gifts are easy but choices are a little more difficult.

“Choices are how we react to these gifts,” Vos said. “I would like to encourage you to find your gifts and pursue them. In the end, choices will be what shape you.”


After the class was certified, diplomas were presented and they were declared eighth grade graduates, leaving the stadium as incoming freshmen, members of the EHS Class of 2021.