Yucaipa High School held its 58th annual graduation ceremony on June 6 to celebrate the accomplishments of seniors who completed their course of study and are moving on to greater opportunities.

Five hundred and ninety seniors made up the graduating class of 2018, including valedictorian Tulsi Patel, who will be attending Yale University in the fall.

In her speech, Patel gave some advice and encouragement to the rest of the graduating seniors.

“Life is a constant grind, and if all you do is look forward, you’ll miss what’s happening in the present,” Patel said. “The goal should not be to avoid struggle, but to embrace it. Savor every second of hard work, because life is a journey and not a destination.”

Students, faculty and parents also heard from class speaker Jamie Figueredo, who offered some words of advice of her own. “Whether we like to admit it or not, change is an inevitable part of life,” Figueredo said. “We may have never asked for high school to change us, but I could never be more thankful that it did.”

Principal Shad Kirkland spoke about the importance of dealing with failure. “Thomas Edison conducted over 1,000 failed experiments before inventing the light bulb,” Kirkland said. “You too, at times, will fail. But don’t fear it. Learn from it. Failure puts you one step closer to obtaining your goals.”

The faculty speaker, David Paul, donned an Uncle Sam-style American flag hat and underscored the importance of persistence. “I want to remind you: the world is a work in progress,” Paul said. “Constantly strive to get better.”

Gerardo Victoriano, a graduating senior, said that the hard work of teachers and staff had a major impact on him. “They were outstanding and supportive,” he said. Victoriano plans to go to trade school and eventually become a mechanical engineer.

At the end of the ceremony, students sang the school’s alma mater and were treated with the rest of the attendants to a fireworks display.

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