402 students graduated PRHS on Friday and Saturday

PASO ROBLES — On Friday, Jun. 11, and Saturday, Jun. 12, the Paso Robles High School (PRHS) Class of 2021 officially graduated.

PRHS Graduation Seniors
Paso Robles Seniors graduate in two separate ceremonies. Photos by Sandra Stratman

The Bearcats graduated in person at War Memorial Stadium in three groups.

The senior class asked Geoffrey Land and Jenny Martinez, both PRHS social science teachers, to be the MCs for their graduation.

After introducing PRHS faculty members, Land and Martinez introduced the Superintendent Curt Dubost, Deputy Superintendent Jennifer Gaviola, Assistant Superintendent Brad Pawlowski, and the Board of Trustees: Chris Arend, Chris Bausch, Jim Reed, Lance Gannon, Tim Gearhart, Dorian Baker, and Nathan Williams.

The PRHS Advanced Choir sang the National Anthem and was then followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Senior Class President Kasey Nguyen.

Student speeches were pre-recorded and played on a large screen on stage.

Associated Student Body (ASB) President Presley Bodentshot was the first to address her fellow graduates.

First, Bodenshot thanked her family and friends for their support and memories before addressing the rest of her graduating class.

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“This year has been a chaotic mess of uncertainty, but we all made it to the finish line. From getting everything ripped away from us, the Class of 2021 has proven themselves resilient and persistent. Whether we all get along or not, we did this together,” said Bodenshot.

A TOP Cat, Bodenshot, will be attending the University of San Diego in the fall.

Bodenshot told Paso Robles Press that the beginning of her senior year was tough but ended up being an eye-opening experience, “I do appreciate how much the school has done for us so far. I know they have restrictions, so it makes it harder. That’s where I come in, and I’m thankful for the parents who have done stuff for us outside of the school–thank you, everyone, who have tried their best, but at this point, we have to move on.” 

Superintendent Curt Dubost then addressed his graduating Bearcats.

He began by sharing his memories of his graduation in 1968, “When I was in high school, a controversial war was raging in Vietnam. It was the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Race Riots were rampant in our cities. All of our universities and colleges were in turmoil. Assassinations of John and Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X were fresh in our memories. A highly contested presidential election was won by a controversial leader, Richard Nixon. The environment was a mess, with rivers literally catching fire and smog unbearable. Sound a bit familiar?”

Dubost continued, “At the same time though, America was poised to keep the promise made by President Kennedy in 1960, and within a year, we put Neal Armstrong on the moon. Great progress was made in cleaning up the environment with the EPA started by President Nixon. Landmark Civil Rights legislation was being enacted. Out of the turmoil and decent, real progress was being made.”

Then, PRHS Principal Anthony Overton congratulated his students and welcomed them into their next phase in life.

Senior Class President Kasey Nguyen thanked her family and friends.

Nguyen said, “Today, we are flipping the page and going on to the next chapter of our lives. Branching out, finding new people, friends, and experiences. Many will be leaving behind the familiarity and comfort of our homes that we have resided in for so long. So here’s to the next part of our lives, and thank you for the opportunity to flourish through the experiences I’ve had here at Paso High.”

Assistant Principal Thomas Harrington presented the 11 Bearcat graduates who are going into the US military.

  • Zayda LaPraim – US Army
  • Jazmine Ramirez – US Army
  • Lizbeth Guillen – US Army
  • Alejandro Hernandez – US Army
  • Gabriel Tabarez – US Navy
  • Joseph Dominguez – US Marine Core
  • Peter Reyes Jr – US Marine Core
  • Jesus Meraz – US Marine Core
  • Elyas Gonzalez – US Marine Core
  • Rebekah Premenko – US Air Force ROTC at Texas Christian University
  • Michael Dow – US Air Force

Salutatorian Mya Castelli then gave her Salutatorian Address.

Castelli closed her address with, “If the past four years have taught us anything, it is that there are no guarantees in life, so it’s important that as we enter the moment into our future, we savor the moment that we are in and appreciate life to the fullest.”

Valedictorian Kristal Roman, who earned over a 4.74 GPA, addressed her fellow Bearcats. 

Roman congratulated her fellow classmates and reminded them to be kind to themselves as they have experienced the last two years unlike any other.

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Paso Robles Seniors turn their tassels to start their next adventure. Photos by Sandra Stratman.

Roman closed her speech by saying, “Make sure to remember to give yourself credit when and where it’s due regardless of the size of your accomplishments. Therefore, no matter what your plans are for the coming years, whether it be community college, university, trade school, military, workforce, or simply taking some more time to prioritize yourself and your needs, approach this new chapter in your life with enthusiasm and curiosity as you encounter more possibilities for growth. Thank you and congratulations.”

Principal Overton and PRJUSD Board President Arend congratulated the class of 2021 before handing students their diplomas one by one.

After reciting the Alma Mater together one last time, the PRHS Class of 2021 turned their tassels to the left and, as a tradition, tossed their caps into the air.

 Congratulations, PRHS Class of 2021. You did it.

If you missed the PRHS 2021 graduation, you can watch them here.