Turn the Tassels!

Walnut High celebrates 2016 grads

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile Walnut High 2016 graduates enjoy speeches during ceremony.

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile
Walnut High 2016 graduates enjoy speeches during ceremony.


Walnut— Seniors have been waiting for this day for months – graduation. After completing classes and final exams, members of the Class of 2016 proudly donned caps and gowns marking their final chapter in high school.

Nearly 1,400 Walnut Valley Unified School District seniors participated in graduation ceremonies on May 26.

At Walnut High School’s 47th commencement, 654 graduates filed into the Ken Gunn Stadium hoping to get a glimpse of families and friends gathered in the bleachers.

The band played the traditional Pomp and Circumstance march during the processional as each graduate took their place on the field.

“I’m excited, but a little nervous,” exclaimed Marissa Amaya, 17, moments before the ceremony as the seniors congregated in the gymnasium.

“It hasn’t really hit me that I’m leaving, but it’s starting to,” added Austin Si, one of the school’s 15 valedictorians graduating with highest honors. “Walking in tonight and seeing all the blue and white is overwhelming!”

The teens soon settled into their seats ready to listen to parting words from school leaders and peers, before receiving the pivotal symbol of all their hard work – a diploma.

“Having had the opportunity to watch and work with many of you, I can confidently say that you have experienced many positive opportunities to shape a personal pathway that will open many doors in your futures,” said Principal Brandon Dade.

“Dream big Mustangs and do not limit yourselves to one way of thinking, acting, or achieving,” said student speaker Leah Rickard. “This world is gaining 654 amazingly bright and intelligent individuals!”

Senior Grade Level Coordinator Danny Daher advised the class to find the courage to look for opportunities, even during times of struggle.

“Be ambitious, be optimistic, be relevant, be proud, be Mustangs,” he said.

Senior Doris Li shared that there are no set ways to achieve success during her message.

Uncertainty exists so that we can stumble, take risks, and fall only to get back up again to find our own path in life,” she said.

“Dream big, but be flexible and be prepared for the plot twists along the way!”

The Class of 2016 marked the final moments of their time together with one last Mustang spell out, then turned their tassels and celebrated as fireworks filled the sky.

“Never ever forget where it started – right here at Walnut High, the place we can always call home no matter how far we get with our dreams,” Li added.

Fifty-three International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma candidates completed the rigorous academic program at Walnut High. The school also celebrated its first class of the IB Career Related/Project Lead The Way Biomedical Sciences Program, and with 46 graduates is one of the largest in the state.

Congratulations to Walnut High Valedictorians: Karim Bourenane, Alison Chang, Michelle Chang, Jonathan Chao, Benjamin Hang, Katherine Lee, Wei Tse Li, Shiyao Liang, Albert Loekman, Yuze Ma, Austin Si, Katie Sun, Derek Wan, Benson Yuan, and Maxwell Zhu.

IB Certificate Candidates: Anthony Aguilar, Maryam Ali, Joy Junyi Cai, Sylvia Cai, Biana Camacho, Lydia Cazares, Armana Chadha, Megan Chan, Adelynne Chang, Crystal Chang, En Chang, Michelle Chang, Natalie Chang, Abinav Teja Chilukuri, Celine Chong, Eric Chong, Anita Chuen, Morgan Gomez, Tiffany Gomez, Joseph Gunawan, Sara Hassan, Sriteja Kankanala, Kevin Kao, Tiffany Kao, Seo Young Kim, Brian Ko, Pei Ting Kuo, Katherine Lee, Alvin Li, Doris Li, Young Li, Nadine Lin, Giuliana Liu, Umanga Liyanage, Cindy Lo, Leroy Lu, Nikita Patel, Salil Patel, Raven Sanqui, Isabelle Thoreau, Justin Tjoa, Amy Trinh, Dalton Trinh, Vincent Tsai, Danny Wang, Tzu Ting Wei, Angel Wong, Kelsey Yim, Daniel Yoon, Samantha Yu, Yolanda Yu, Laura Zhang, and Maxwell Zhu.

IB Career-Related Candidates: Manuel Oscar Almacen, Sean Aquino, Pamella Asnata, Giselle Balanza, Tiffany Casarez, Hui Yi Chan, Thomas Chang, Fiona Cheuk, Kate De Los Santos, Mardy Lindt Fionne Diaz, Ethan Fong, Matthew Foung, Kaitlyn Fujii, Raphael Garcia, Isiah Gawaran, Ibaa Hafeez, JinRun Han, Jedidiah Hu, Daniel Kong, Sai Hao Kou, Seigmund Lai, Stephanie Lau, Dennis Lee, Carol Li, Wei Tse Li, Yun-Chin Lin, Jonas Liptak, Jude Mendoza, Derrick Moon, Nicolas Morales, Michael, Neoh, Petre Quintua, Jonathan Rodriguez, Nikita Rubio, Fernanda Sandoval, Elaine Sun, Maria Chel Sy, Jeffrey Tan, Edmund Tang, Isaac Tang, Sean Tang Wang, Emilio Triguero, Xinyu Wang, Nicholas Wen, Debby Wong, Kristen Yoo, and Gina Zhuo.

At Diamond Bar High School, 739 Brahmas participated in graduation ceremonies at the Walt Holmes Stadium. Congratulations to Valedictorians: Lauren Burdsall, Crystal Chang, Jennifer Chang, Eric Chen, Jeff Chow, Katherine Desmond, Radu Firtat, Ran Gu, Melody Guo, Charlene Hsu, Forest Hu, Ellis Jang, Jung Hyun Kim, Samantha Ku, Andrew Lee, Joshua Lee, Shana Roan, Hsuan-Te Sun, Jonathan Sun,Kathy Tong, Pansy Tseng, Jason Tsoi, Margaret Wang, Ava Wu, Jennifer Wu, Brady Yu, and Alana Zhang. IB Diploma Candidates: Kayley Marie Butler, Eunice Chung, Meanna G. Gray, Karina Kuo, Angela Song, Sara Tran, Song Quan Wang, Ava Yih Shan Wu, and Shunxing Zhang.