After persevering through several difficult years, American Canyon High School’s Class of 2022 assembled triumphantly on the turf of the school’s Wolf Den football stadium Tuesday night, surrounded on both sides by an ecstatic family audience. and friends.

Principal Crystal Lopez set the tone for the ceremony in a keynote address that urged the school’s 405 future graduates to take pride in their accomplishments and show empathy and a sense of responsibility with them in the ‘coming.

“The past four years have taught us how interconnected we all are, how our actions affect the lives and well-being of our friends, family, neighbors and community,” Lopez said. “Be proud of all you’ve accomplished in the midst of such adversity.”

Student speakers – student council members as well as the two students with the highest grade point averages – reflected on their time at school.

Andreas Aynalem, the Associate Student Body Activities Director, asked his classmates to observe their surroundings and acknowledge that this is the last time the class will meet. Mariegrace Unajan, treasurer of the student government group, said the school is “not like any other” because the students “never fail to uplift and celebrate and love and care for each other. each other”. And student body president Emily Bit reminisced about a series of memories she made with her classmates.

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Student body secretary Sophia Rapacon said she felt really disconnected from school when she returned to campus in the fall of 2021, given that they all had to leave campus in March 2020 due to COVID-19.

But, Rapacon said, the Class of 2022 was the only remaining class to have lived a full year physically on campus. She and her classmates were compelled, Rapacon said, to rebuild the school’s traditions, community and academic spirit from the ground up.

“As elders, we used our memories of what once was to reimagine what our school could be,” Rapacon said. “It was a difficult task to undertake and yet we chose to embrace it and continue to thrive in a stronger, more united community.”

Class Salutatorian Gurnek Singh Sidhu – the first recognized by ACHS – gave a speech urging his classmates to keep chasing their dreams. His classmates learned a lot and grew as people at school, he said, and created memories that will last a lifetime. Now they have to keep pushing to achieve their goals.

“Never let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do,” Sidhu said. “Don’t let the naysayers determine and set limits to your success. Find your own path in life and strive for greatness.

Class valedictorian Beza Mesfin — as well as student body vice president — gave a speech reflecting on the struggles and triumphs of the past few years. (Mesfin was the first single valedictorian recognized by the ACHS, according to Lopez, because in recent years the honor was based on a grade point average and was therefore shared among multiple people.)

Mesfin said education is a blessing sometimes taken for granted and serves as a unifying force among all graduates. Additionally, she said, the struggle students have faced during the coronavirus pandemic is something no one can take away from them.

The final years are unforgettable, she says, because they are the years when students get to know themselves and who they want to become.

“My own family who immigrated here from Ethiopia in the late 1980s encountered obstacles that I will never experience,” Mesfin said. “By cultivating a new life from scratch, learning a new language and culture, my parents single-handedly guided me to the doors of success. And I’m forever grateful. Hardship is something we don’t never ask for but that we own.We wear our scars with pride because we know the person we are today wouldn’t be here without them.

Economics professor Scott Marsden, who was chosen by the graduating class to represent the school’s staff, gave a speech playing on the economic term ‘human capital’ – basically the attributes people carry that are useful in the process of capital production – and what students had taught him over the past year. He called the gathered students “incredible pieces of human capital” and defined the term as “the skills, abilities, knowledge and experiences that equip a person to succeed in the job market and in life”.

Marsden said the class should continually update and refresh its human capital to keep up with changes in the job market.

“It’s time to get real, class of 2022. Supply and demand rule the job market,” Marsden said. “And supply and demand are constantly changing.”

But, Marsden added, “human capital” is about more than money and the labor market. Learning to bake chocolate chip cookies or becoming a best friend also takes human capital, he said.

Marsden said he has personally taught 245 seniors – “incredible pieces of human capital” – over the past year, and they have taught him more than he could teach them. For example, the students taught him the importance of empathy.

“I see it in active minds and money management clubs, when you’re helping students with their mental health or their personal finances,” Marsden said. “I see it on the ballpark, in the gym or in the pool when you’re cheering on a struggling teammate. Finally, I see it in the theater when you sing, play and make music together.

Marsden also praised the positivity of the class despite the difficulties they faced.

“Even something as small as a punch, a smile, or a yelled greeting in the hallway got me going for another class period, another teaching day,” Marsden said. “Class of 2022, keep radiating that positivity, as your teachers and employers are eager to teach and work with positive people.”

You can reach Edward Booth at 707-256-2213.