Walking into the Escalon Memorial Stadium as eighth graders on Thursday night, the Class of 2016 at El Portal were Panthers when they started their ceremony – Cougars in waiting when they ended it. The class members will move on to become freshmen at Escalon High School in the fall.
With temperatures in the 90s and a stadium full of family and friends, the graduates enjoyed the welcome from Student Body President Stephanie Torres and the Flag Salute led by Student Body Vice President Jack Fitzgerald.
A variety of awards were also presented, ranging from teacher recognition to Presidential physical fitness, exemplary citizen, exceptional growth and academic excellence. The Classified Employee of the Year award went to Maintenance and Transportation Secretary Cindy Sipes and Student Speaker Alexandra Titsworth took the crowd on ‘A Flight Through El Portal’ during her commencement address. The graduate also earned citizenship and teacher recognition honors.
El Portal Principal Mark Vos offered an address to the graduates, with the diplomas then presented by the Board of Trustees.
Following the presentation of the class, there were congratulations, hugs and high fives all around as the crowd spilled out of the stands to greet their graduates.