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CALISTOGA — On a beautiful Friday evening, proud families and friends filled the stands at the Calistoga Speedway to support and cheer the 49 graduates of the class of 2019 as they filed in and took their place on stage to acknowledge 12 years of scholastic accomplishment.

For the graduates of Calistoga Junior-Senior High School and Palisades High School, it was a night they won’t soon forget as they stood prepared to embark on new journeys, proceeding onward to college and futures yet unknown.

Class President Moises Ceballos and Class Valedictorian Luis Cendejas offered words of advice for their fellow graduates.

“Fellow students we did it, and we did it together,” Cebayos said, also thanking his parents and friends for inspiring him, and supporting him, and saying that hard work does pay off.

“Although I hit rock bottom many times I still managed to come back up. Wherever you end up, may good luck and good fortune be on your side. Work hard and never give up, and never lose sight of what really matters to you.”

Cendejas advised, “If you’re always going to try and find an excuse for everything, you will never succeed. You will always find yourself in the same situation. What you can do is stop finding excuses and start finding solutions. Don’t tell yourself you can’t, tell yourself ‘I can, and I will.’ You can have the nice house, the fancy clothes and nice car, but you have to be willing to work for it.”

Principal Craig Wycoff thanked the Calistoga Rotary for sponsoring exchange students each year, and in a symbolic and touching display of international fellowship, a student from Calistoga and Italian exchange student Emma Antonelli, exchanged national flags.

This would be the last year Wycoff would preside over the graduation proceedings, as after five years of overseeing Calistoga Junior-Senior High School and Palisades High School, he is retiring.

“You will always be Wildcats and this will always be your home,” he told the seniors, reminding them to give back. “Calistoga is a wonderful community and you’re blessed to be here.”

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You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at csweeney@weeklycalistogan.com or 942-4035.

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The Weekly Calistogan Editor

Cynthia Sweeney has been editor of The Weekly Calistogan since July, 2018. Previously, she was a reporter for the St. Helena Star, and North Bay Business Journal. She also spent a significant amount of time freelancing in Hawaii.