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Granite Bay grads enter the 'real world'

Scholarship winnings for the class total $2.8 million
By: Margaret Snider, Press Tribune contributor
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The sunny morning provided the perfect background for the Granite Bay High School 2012 commencement, which was held on campus Saturday.

Of the 540 seniors, 93 percent will be off to college, said Principal Mike McGuire. Scholarship winnings for the class totaled more than $2.8 million. Eighty-five students graduated summa cum laude, with a grade point average of 4.0 and above.

The class's 279 varsity athletes helped win 13 league titles and five section championships thsi year.

Students considered themselves ready to move on.

“The teachers are extremely amazing,” said graduating senior Alana York.

She plans to train horses, after getting a degree in leadership at Azusa Pacific University in California.

“I’m excited for the next chapter in my life," York said.

Chad Alvarez earned the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Scholarship and Chancellor’s Scholarship for the University of Colorado at Boulder.

“The school’s prepared me for college and just getting along with life,” he said, although he also said he will miss the friends he’s made over the last four years.

Kris Wilmarth, mother of Kate Wilmarth, said she felt the kids were a lot more prepared than her generation.

“My husband’s a physician and (Kate) was taking science classes that he didn’t have until he got to Berkeley,” she said.

Although they may be well prepared, McGuire emphasized to the graduates the need for making informed decisions and following their dreams.

“If you are ever in any place where you wonder ‘Should I stay or should I go?’ the fact that the question even pops into your head tells you what the answer should be – go! Listen to your moral compass, your guardian angel," he said.

Alan Rabishaw’s daughter Elana is an honor student graduating this year.

“She came here in her sophomore year. In her junior year she took a semester off and studied in Israel,” Rabishaw said. “The kids who go to Granite Bay High School have a great advantage, with great classes, (Advanced Placement) opportunities, honors opportunities, great teachers, good atmosphere for learning … I think that most of the kids here have lots of opportunities in front of them and as long as they learn something and get some confidence, they can tackle anything in the world.”

Twins Moosa and Haroon Zaidi shared the honor of valedictorian this year.

Moosa Zaidi gave the analogy of being out in the woods, following their own path for the first time.

“It’s hard in the woods,” he said. “You may get lost, you may be chased by bears. Just remember – no bear is as tough as a Grizzly.”

Teacher Brandon Dell’Orto told the graduates they are leaving everything that has been pre-created for them, and now they are part of the solution.

“The premise of democracy is ‘It’s our job’ to do what we need to do,” Dell’Orto said. “Be important to somebody in this world. Make somebody’s life better.”