The final class of Calaveras High School students to ever claim the Redskin mascot graduated on Frank Meyer Field June 6, supported by hundreds of family members and friends.

“Let’s not forget about being the real last class of Redskins,” said Class Commissioner Bri Head during her speech, inspiring a passionate applause.

Head was referencing the passage of Assembly Bill 30, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2015, which forced Calaveras and three other California high schools to abandon the Redskins mascot. As a result, the Calaveras community voted to have no mascot.

The recent death of 2018 grad Destinee Marquez was also mentioned by Head.

“We lost a very beloved friend to all,” Head said. “Although she’s not here, she’s very loved and missed every day.”

Two students who would have graduated with the class if not for their tragic loss, Taylor Mantz and Symon Patelzick, were also memorialized with a gown-draped chair and flowers.

Associated Student Body President Jared Bisbikis praised the 178 “beautiful, intelligent and unique students,” many of whom will soon enter colleges nationwide, learn a trade or serve their country in the military.

“As we prepare to go off into the big world, let us not forget where we came from,” said Bisbikis, who will be attending the University of San Francisco. “Calaveras County is a loving community whose people care deeply for each other. In times of need, we come together to aid and support each other.”

Bisbikis reminded his classmates to carry on the core values of Calaveras High School: faith, love and loyalty.

“Be risk takers and innovators, and always remember where you came from,” Bisbikis said. “I’m all of you guys’ biggest fan.”

Although the school recognized 18 valedictorians during the ceremony, all of which earned grade point averages of 4.0 or above, the top two academic scholars, Lucas Borchin and Annah Miles, were chosen to address their class.

Both recognized the support from family, teachers and friends that carried them to commencement.

“It’s been a long, hard journey, but we all pushed through and finished like champs,” Borchin said. “The moments I remember best are those days walking outside or just hanging out with some of the greatest friends and thinking, ‘Dang, I’m really gonna miss these times.’ As Andy Bernard, the Nard Dog, once said, 'I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve left them.’”

Following the speeches, Principal Michael Tambini presented the Calaveras High School Class of 2019, igniting an explosion of hats, hugs and confetti.

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Dakota graduated from Bret Harte in 2013 and went to Davidson College, NC where she earned a bachelor's degree in Arab studies. After spending time studying in the Middle East and Europe, she is happy to be home, writing about the community she loves.

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