Sutter Union High School was one of a handful area schools to have a small version of an in-person commencement ceremony a year ago.
“Last year we were able to conduct an in-person graduation for students and parents only,” Assistant Principal Rick Giovannoni said.
This year, due to less restrictive COVID-19 guidelines, Sutter was able to open up its commencement to a few more guests and bring together all of its 190 graduating seniors to celebrate.
The class of 2021 officially graduated on Friday night on campus together.
Giovannoni said it was a beautiful sight to witness a more traditional commencement.
“It has been a hard 14-15 months for us to try and resume as much normalcy as possible,” Giovannoni said. “I would say the hardest part about this senior class is they were not as connected to the school for their final year as most and that is disheartening to us.”
He was glad they were all together on Friday to celebrate the achievement.
Senior Ethan Batatan said what he missed the most this year while working through distance learning was being on campus with his friends. He said when the district switched to a hybrid model in February of this year he returned to on-campus learning.
“I didn’t want to miss the opportunity,” Batatan said, while looking through a yearbook filled with signatures from his classmates.
Batatan, who will head to Cal State Fullerton to study biology, soaked in his final moments before taking the walk with fellow seniors Tori Berg and Alex Pitula. The trio have been friends for awhile and all said how surreal it will be after Friday’s ceremony.
“It’s crazy that this is the last time we will all be together,” said Berg, who’s headed to Arizona to be a member of the competitive cheer squad.
Berg said it was great that everyone was together one final time.
As for the future, Pitula said there is a lot of uncertainty about what will come next. Pitula is headed to Oklahoma State to study fire protection technology and safety.
He said returning to campus this year motivated him to work harder to reach commencement with his friends.
Sutter High’s class valedictorian was Emma Cucchi. The salutatorians were Theodore Bravos, Abby Naomi Dominguez, Andrea Reyes Guillen and Paige Stokes.