Superintendent Curt Dubost delivers final address as over 400 students embark on new journeys

PASO ROBLES — Over 400 students walked into their next phase in life at War Memorial Stadium for the Friday, June 7, Paso Robles High School (PRHS) graduation. The milestone was marked by a series of recognitions highlighting the achievements and aspirations of the Class of 2024.

Paso Robles Joint Unified School District (PRJUSD) Superintendent Curt Dubost welcomed the graduates.

“In this, my final public address as a school administrator after 45 years,” Dubost began. “I have the opportunity to speak to you both as your superintendent and as a grandparent of a student.”

2024 PRHS Graduation � Daniel Kulaguz � 4
Photos by Daniel Kulaguz/PRP

Dubost went on to speak to the students about love, marriage, having their own children — by whatever definition that means to them.

“Life is not always easy, and trying to make it alone makes it nearly impossible,” said Dubost.

He also spoke to the students about substance abuse and warned them to steer away from them as he experienced alcoholism himself and has remained sober for 17 years.

“If you need help, please get it before you waste time and health unneccessarily,” he added. “Dont ever lie to yourself.”

Dubost also encouraged the students to attend college and take advantage of the opportunities available to them at Cuesta College.

“I fear this generation has left you a bit of a mess, but dont lose faith on our democracy. Dont lose faith in the United States of America,” he said. “Be kind, be a good friend, be a good mom or dad, and above all be a good American. Our country needs you.”

Jennifer Loftus, who will be stepping in as PRJUSD superintendent following Dubost’s retirement in July, also shared a few words for the graduates. 

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Photos by Daniel Kulaguz/PRP

“As you now move beyond high school, your teachers want nothing more than to ensure their belief in you, travels with you on your journey, wherever that journey takes you,” said Loftus, a Bearcat alumna herself. “Behind you, are your memories. Before you, your dreams. Around you, all who love you. And within you all you need.”

Principal Megan Fletcher took a moment to remember student Natalie Curtis, who passed away in December 2023.

“She was a source of light, love and joy for her family, her classmates and her community,” said Fletcher. 

Curtis’s family was present at the graduation with her mother accepting her diploma on her behalf. According to Curtis’s obituary, she was born “with multiple physical and medical issues, which she endured all of her life.”

Earlier, on May 30, the school hosted a Senior Scholarship Night at Gil Asa Gym, where 80 students received 151 scholarships totaling $341,260. These awards ranged from $500 to $16,000, including multi-year scholarships and the Montgomery GI scholarship from the U.S. Army.

Assistant PRHS Principal for the Class of 2024 Stuart Hamill introduced the graduating students who will be heading into the military following graduation. 

“They will enter the world’s strongest military with the most sophisticated technology available,” Hamill said. “This technology is operated by young people willing to go into harms way to defend us. These valiant young men and women will protect us and our way of life.” 

Students who will be heading into the military are as follows:

US Air Force

  • Zachary Johnson
  • Trevor Hansen
  • Kennea Valadez
  • Evan Jordan
  • Ulises Garcia

US Army

  • Hayden Gann
  • Naomi Ojeda-Garcia
  • Marvin Martinez Santana
  • Nathan Marquez Ramirez

Coast Guard

  • William “Sonny” Garrett

US National Guard

  • Mattison Cunningham

US Marine Corps

  • Debbie Brekke
  • Kylee Dayton
  • Colton Roth

Salutatorian Kalani Jai Gaviola, with a 4.88 GPA, will attend the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in English to prepare for law school. Kalani received the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship, the university’s most prestigious undergraduate award, and was actively involved in various leadership roles at PRHS.

“I ask you Class of 2024 … to remember the love that has made your special moments in high school so special,” said Gaviola in her speech. “We are all unique individual humans and I hope all of your lives are filled with satisfaction, joy, and yes, infinitely love.”

Valedictorian Gabriella Rose Silva, with a 4.89 GPA, will attend Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, majoring in biological sciences. Gabby, who was co-captain and co-MVP of the PRHS golf team and a recipient of the Lion’s Club Sportsmanship Award, aims to become a physician assistant.

2024 PRHS Graduation � Daniel Kulaguz � 31
Photos by Daniel Kulaguz/PRP

“Change is undeniably scary, but without change, I am certain none of us would be sitting here today,” Silva said. “As we close this chapter and transition into a new one, I can give two pieces of advice: The first piece, follow your heart. As cliche as that may sound, in our world today it is easy to be swayed by the opinions and expectations of others but Ithink the most fulfilling path is the one that you set upon for yourself … my second piece of advice is to continue cultivating relationships relationships that conserve as pillars in your life. As we embark on this new journey let us cherish the memories we share and carry them with us in the future.”

The graduation ceremony featured the Pledge of Allegiance led by Abigail Williams and the national anthem sung by Eve Iacovelli. Senior Class President Bianca Rangel played a key role in the traditional turning of the tassels, symbolizing the graduates’ transition from students to alumni.

Congratulations to the Class of 2024 — once a Bearcat, always a Bearcat.

Photos by Daniel Kulaguz/PRP