Over 300 Bearcats don decorated caps and gowns, celebrating their journey to graduation

PASO ROBLES — Over 300 students left the War Memorial Stadium as Paso Robles High School (PRHS) graduates on Friday, June 9, for the 127th PRHS graduation. Introduced by emcees and PRHS teachers Jenny Martinez and Matt Carroll, Paso Robles Joint Unified School District (PRJUSD) Superintendent Curt Dubost gave the first speech of the night.

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Photos by Photo Stop

Dubost took some time to walk down memory lane with the students, remembering milestones made in sports, the many dance and drama performances, and more. 

“I hope and trust that despite all of these curveballs that have been sent your way, you still have many great memories at Paso Robles High School,” said Dubost. “Again, congratulations on obtaining your high school diploma this evening, and I wish all of you a future in which you will be happy and successful.”

PRHS Principal Anthony Overton followed Dubost by thanking the teachers and staff for helping students reach Friday night’s milestone. While the students’ four years were anything but ordinary going from distance and hybrid learning during COVID-19 to back on campus, Overton said he wasn’t going to rehash it all because the students had already lived it.

Overton commended the students’ achievements, including 75 scholarship recipients, 229 students taking advantage of the Cuesta Promise, and four signing national letters of intent, to name a few. The Class of 2023 is also the first at PRHS to wear decorated caps, which they advocated for at PRJUSD meetings.

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Photos by Photo Stop

Overton addressed his 383 graduates: “Today, when you walk across this stage, in this stadium, witnessed by your friends and family and this community wearing that crimson cap and gown, you will have truly earned the title of Bearcat.”

Director of Student Services Tom Harrington introduced the 13 graduates who have committed to a branch of the United States Armed Forces.

“The fact that we gather here in War Memorial Stadium should not be lost on this crowd and provides a stark reminder that the freedoms that we enjoy are not free. Bearcats have long played a role in our nation’s defense. This stadium was dedicated in 1947 to those Bearcats who lost their lives in the Second World War,” said Harrington, adding, “They will go into a world that is at the least uncertain and at the most is very dangerous.”

Later, with a LaCrouix in hand, Co-Salutatorian Miguel Muniz gave his short and sweet speech in which he thanked his parents. He and his co-salutatorian, Gwenyth Lemon, graduated with a 4.8 GPA. Muniz will be attending UC Berkeley in the fall.

Lemon, who will be attending Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, went down memory lane with her fellow graduates and thanked everyone who helped her with this accomplishment.

“As you move forward, I implore you to thank those who positively contributed to your high school experience,” said Lemons as she addressed her soon-to-be former classmates.

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Photos by Photo Stop

And lastly, before the students walked to the stage to finally get their degrees, Valedictorian Olivia Wright took the stage for her address. Wright graduated with a 4.84 GPA and will be attending Saint Mary’s College of California in the fall. 

Comparing high school to the game of Twister, Wright said, “Here in this game, we realized that we are more similar than different. All of us eventually fall down … we get twisted up through high school’s challenges. Now the game is over and we are standing back up. Examining the strategy we took to play the game … for myself, I don’t know what lies ahead, where my passions will lead me or really what my passions are though I am certain of one thing, it is important to find respectful, loving caring people to put in the corners of your twister mat so that when you a, you have a helping hand.”

To commence their milestone, the Bearcats moved their cap tassels to the left before their long-awaited toss into the air. Congratulations, Paso Robles High School Bearcats Class of 2023.

Photos by Photo Stop