During a morning ceremony, inside a crowded gymnasium filled with proud family members, friends, and teachers, the graduating classes from three Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) campuses donned caps and gowns on June 6 for commencement exercises.
Held in the gymnasium of SCOE's Leo A. Palmiter Jr./Sr. High School, the ceremony acknowledged the academic achievements of the 21 students graduating from Palmiter, North Area Community School, and Elinor Lincoln Hickey High Schools.
Principals Carmen Walker and Byron Lockhart were assisted in presenting diplomas to the students by County School Board Trustee and school namesake Elinor L. Hickey, who addressed the graduates.
"The most enjoyable thing that a school board member can do is hand out diplomas to high school graduates," Mrs. Hickey said.
In addressing the graduating class, County Superintendent David W. Gordon challenged students to try new things, seek opportunities, and to appreciate their own value.
"You have great potential. Do not underestimate it. Please realize that all people who have accomplished great things - at some point in their lives - were much like you," Superintendent Gordon said.
Several graduating seniors addressed the assembly. Palmiter High School graduate Armando Mercado shared with attendees the fact that he has achieved a milestone within his family.
"Today, I have broken my family curse," Mercado shouted before the cheering crowd. "None of us has ever graduated. Today, I did it!"
Hickey High School graduate Abraham Jami noted that for him and many of his classmates earning a high school diploma seemed like a distant dream, but now that dream has become a reality.
"Remember who you are right now and what you want to become. Dream big and don't let anybody hold you back," Jami told his fellow graduates.
Several hundred family members, friends, mentors, school faculty, and staff cheered the graduates and celebrated at a reception following the ceremony.