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Wearing navy blue caps and gowns that fluttered in a gentle breeze, the Napa High School class of 2019 officially closed the book on their high school education on Thursday afternoon.

“I’m nervous, but excited,” said student Dominic Di Pasqua as he waited at the front of one line of students assembled before the procession onto Memorial Stadium.

“I’m a little bit sad but more excited to just not be in school — and start our adult lives,” said fellow student Makena Duncan.

“It’s crazy,” to be at his high school graduation, said Johnny Torres. “It’s a great experience (but) it’s coming to an end so fast.”

“It’s the last everything,” said Leilani Ellis, as she reflected back on some of her favorite high school events such as homecoming and school rallies.

“High school is over,” said Estefania Cacho with a note of finality. “Waking up in the morning is going to be different.”

Cruz Palafox was happy “to enjoy this moment with all my friends and family.”

After students proceeded onto the field to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance,” student Connor Flynn started the ceremony by reading a poem he wrote.

“We stand on the cusp of the future, my friends,” he read. “Smile back on this fun as the old chapter ends.”

After performances from the Napa High Vocal Music Workshop and the Men’s Barbershop Quartet, student speaker Joel Navarro Raygoza addressed the crowd.

“High school was hard enough,” he said. “To get here today was no easy accomplishment. But it was all worth it.”

“We made it,” said the next speaker, Owen Zuidema. “We’ve conquered the beast that is high school.”

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“I’m proud of us,” Zuidema said. “Today we lift off to embark on a mission in a galaxy far, far away.”

Speaker Allyson Martinez Saenz spoke in both English and Spanish of her appreciation for her years at Napa High.

“I’m grateful to represent the English learners who have managed to get here today,” she said. “Continue to satisfy your hunger for knowledge,” she advised her classmates.

Speaker Rachel Pharr is the valedictorian of Napa High School’s class of 2019. “It seems like just yesterday we were kindergartners,” said Pharr. “And now here we are walking across the stage for our diplomas.”

Senior class president Alexandria Elena Martinez Chimalpopoca pointed out that this is the first class to graduate as Grizzlies, the new school mascot. “We are ready to start a new journey,” she said. “May we all have a wonderful journey.”

Frank Silva III, interim school principal, addressed the group.

“You are an amazing group of young adults,” he said. “You are the cornerstone of our future.”

The principal had a few facts to share with those assembled.

A total of 48 percent of this Napa High school class had taken AP courses. Twenty-two percent had a 4.0 GPA. Seventy-three percent had a 3.0 GPA or higher. A total of 30 percent played sports at Napa High. Ninety-one percent have indicated they are going to college. Five students will join the military.

An estimated 373 students were listed on the Napa High School graduation program.

Silva then directed the students to move their tassels from right to left, signifying one of their final tasks as high school students.

A sound like rolling thunder was then heard as hundreds of spectators stomped their feet in celebration on the stadium bleachers.

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.