Jaiden Ralston will be attending Iowa State University on a softball scholarship

PASO ROBLES — Paso Robles High School (PRHS) saw a fifth-generation Bearcat graduate on Friday night, June 10.

Jaiden Ralston, who turned 18 on June 28, is the fifth generation in her family to graduate from PRHS. The tradition started with Jaiden’s great-great-grandmother, Zena Hord (Klintworth), who graduated from PRHS in 1932. 

At first, Jaiden says she didn’t realize being a fifth-generation graduate was unique but soon came to appreciate being a part of a long line of the city’s history.

June Klintworth (Bertoni) graduated in 1955 and currently volunteers at the Paso Robles Historical Area Society, located in the Carnegie Library in City Park, on Thursdays. Following June was Tami Bertoni (Smith), who graduated in 1975, and then Staci Smith (Ralston), who graduated in 2000.

June’s father was born in Paso Robles after his parents immigrated to California from Germany in 1886. The family purchased property in the Geneseo area and began farming grapes. As Bertoni understands it, her grandparents were one of the first in the county to be bonded to sell wine.

In 1950, June’s family purchased a home closer to town so she and her sister could attend Paso Robles schools before heading into high school — located at the current Flamson Middle School campus at the time. As June puts it, she and her sister had to learn how to behave themselves after attending the rural school in Creston.

June’s mother, Zena, also attended high school at the Flamson campus. Jaiden’s mother, Staci, was the first of the five generations to attend the current campus on Niblick Road.

Other than attending different high school campuses, June says one of the biggest differences between their high school careers is Jaiden having the opportunity to play competitively on sports teams.

“The girls weren’t really anybody in high school then,” said June. 

She explained back when she was in high school, there were no official girls’ sports teams at the high school other than physical education (P.E.) classes. Instead, girls would meet after school to play against each other. 

So Jaiden is the first of her family to go this far in softball, but her talent as a pitcher may have come from her two-times-great grandfather. June’s father was a pitcher, playing baseball on small town teams.

The other difference June notes is how much the city has grown since she was Jaiden’s age, growing from around 3,000 people to a population of over 30,000.

“It’s nobody you know anymore, and we knew everybody when we were growing up,” said June.

Having the chance to know and learn from her great-grandmother is something Jaiden will never forget. Besides learning how to cook from June, Jaiden has learned family traditions and most of all, she says she has learned how to give back.

“You learn something from everyone,” said Jaiden.

Jaiden will be attending Iowa State University this fall on a full-ride athletic scholarship for softball. She has been playing softball since she was 4 years old, starting her traveling softball teams at just 10.

At the end of her senior year at PRHS, Jaiden earned several scholar awards and recognitions. She ended the year with a 4.23 GPA, landing her a spot as a Top Cat. Jaiden also received the following recognitions: College and Career Exemplar, Athletic Excellence, Scholar Athletes, Science, SkillsUSA, CTE – Health Sciences, and Cuesta. 

This summer, Jaiden will be play softball on a traveling team and move to Ames, Iowa, in August, where she still start practicing with the university’s Cyclones softball team. When not playing softball, Jaiden will be studying bio-chemistry with goals to become a traveling nurse while training to become an anesthesiologist.

“I’m proud of her. I’m glad she has her head all together at this age,” said June. “She is very smart, a very good girl, and all-around good at everything.”