Nearly 200 students receive diplomas in memorable ceremony featuring flyover and heartfelt speeches

TEMPLETON — Templeton High School celebrated the graduation of the Class of 2024 on Thursday, June 6, at Volunteer Stadium. The event was marked by nearly 200 students receiving their diplomas from the Templeton Unified School District (TUSD) Board of Trustees.

The ceremony began with a rendition of the national anthem by the Wallace brothers. A highlight of the event was the flyover tribute by the Estrella Warbird Museum, adding a memorable touch to the celebrations.

Templeton High School Principal Jessica Lloyd welcomed students and their families in the crowd on Thursday night.


“As we gather to honor the achievements of our seniors, I am filled with immense pride and admiration for each one of these young adults. They have reached a significant milestone,” said Lloyd.

She continued by thanking family, friends, and the community for supporting the students throughout their educational careers.

Lloyd then recognized some THS employees who were also graduating into retirement: Coach Phil James, Matt Macfarlane, Chris Hildebrand, and Cindy Deazer. 

She again addressed the graduates sitting on the stage: “I hope you look back fondly on your time at Templeton High School and your years in Templeton Unified School District. More importantly, my hope is that you have grown into young adults with character, motivation, and resilience.”

Senior Class President James Black presented the senior gifts, which included new benches for the campus and a red carpet emblazoned with their class year. 

Eagle of the Year and Salutatorian Walker Craven addressed his fellow classmates: “The Class of 2024 did not become so superb without trial and error. Life ebs and flows. It has its ups and its downs. Life is not always easy, nor should it be.”

“All of us on this stage know how hard life can be. But as the old addict states, ‘this too shall pass,’” Craven added.”The hard times do come to an end and result in personal growth and strength. This class is the most respectful, loving, caring and supportive class I have seen.”

In a Templeton High School tradition, Lloyd introduced the class’ foreign exchange students. Each student exchanges their home flag with an American one to commemorate their time here. 

“We greatly value what they have added to our campus and how they have served as a reminder to all of us of a much bigger world. A world beyond our community,” said Lloyd before the three students, who came from Italy and Germany, were introduced and happily exchanged their flags.

The academic achievements of the class were highlighted by the recognition of the Valedictorians and Salutatorian.Serafina Jarboe and Tatyana Ilieva were named Co-Valedictorians, and Craven was honored as the Salutatorian. These three students collectively completed 152 semesters of weighted honors, Advanced Placement, and college coursework, showcasing their dedication and hard work. The night was a celebration of achievement, community, and the bright futures ahead for the graduates.

Ilieva recalled a class experiment where two plants received the same treatment except one of them received positive affirmations and the second did not. The one that received positivity grew taller. 

“I firmly believe that the way we preserve our lives and ourselves has a great impact on what and who we become,” said Ilieva.

Following Ilieva was her co-valedictorian Jarboe, who reminisced on the students starting high school as they went from awkward masked freshman to confident seniors. 

“Regardless of the path we take, we will be guided by our shared history at Templeton,” Jarboe said. “The memories we have made together, cheering for the football team, doing group projects, playing music in front of peers, or simply the nostalgic taste of chicken strips from the market, these memories will stay with us each connecting us to each other.”

She continued, “Take a mental picture now. Look to each other. Find the people who supported you most if not in this audience then in your heart. Let’s take a few seconds to appreciate them and remember how they have helped us. Keep this picture in your mind as a reference image for where you came from. Cherish it with pride, then go forth into the world unafraid to create change and to embrace growth. Remember who you are and become who you want to be. And even if we grow apart or who we are meant to be is unrecognizable, when the time comes I will be so excited to meet you all over again.”

As the 2024 Eagle of the Year, Craven had the honor of performing the traditional turning of the tassels, symbolizing the graduates’ transition from students to alumni.

Congratulations graduates, and good luck on your next phase of life.

Featured Image: Students of the Class of 2024 receive their diplomas during the Templeton High School graduation ceremony on Thursday, June 6. Photos by Matt Macfarlane.