Graduating Vikings set sail

Oakmont High School graduates celebrate sober grad night at Strikes bowling alley
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Oakmont High School seniors experienced a bittersweet graduation ceremony Thursday evening on the campus quad.

The 315 graduating Vikings were leaving behind their high school years, and come this fall, many will also leave the familiarity of their families, childhood friends and hometown to venture off to college.

“I’m excited,” said senior Ashley Dasmacci. “But I’m a little bit freaked out about going out into the real world.”

The seniors were mainly full of smiles before the ceremony as they waited in the gymnasium in their light blue and navy gowns. But there also were some heavy hearts leading up to the big event.

“It’s emotionally exhausting, definitely,” said senior Minnaal Ali. “I’m excited to move on to college. I’m going to UC Irvine. But it’s going to be sad not to see a lot of the people I’m used to seeing every day. It feels weird to be done.”

The commencement ceremony marked a somber moment, as seniors bid well wishes to Kathleen Sirovy, Oakmont principal since 2002, who retired earlier this spring, following a brain tumor diagnosis.

Staff and students created a ceramic tile wall mural to show their appreciation for the former principal’s 39 years of service to the Roseville Joint Union High School District. Sirovy was unable to attend graduation, but the school band performed the song, “Our Yesterdays Lengthen Like Shadows,” in her honor.

Salutatorians James Crisp and Anthony Hong infused humor into their joint speech about entering Oakmont as “lost and confused tweens in a jungle of beautiful women and bearded men,” to becoming the “biggest, baddest and, frankly, the best-looking on campus,” as seniors.

Valedictorian Kayla Powers kept her message simple, urging her peers to pursue their dreams.

“Strive for success,” she said. “Disregard the possibility of failure.”

Fellow valedictorian Laura McManus commented on the movie “Toy Story,” which came out in 1995 when she and her classmates were barely 2 years old, and the final installment that hit theaters during their last year of high school.

“Endings are inevitable,” McManus said, but they’re now beginning the process of stepping out into the world.

After graduation, some Vikings enjoyed sober grad night at Strikes Family Entertainment Center in Rocklin, to celebrate until 5 a.m.

Ali planned to attend. During high school, she ran track and field, was president of the speech and debate team and served as student body treasurer, among other extra-curricular activities.

“I’m going to miss being a leader on campus,” she said, with a sigh. “We’ll go back to being freshmen again.”

Sena Christian can be reached at