Delta High School graduates are a little different from most others. They all come from other high schools for many different reasons — they come together at Delta.
The Class of 2014 celebrated their individualities and their successes Wednesday afternoon as 250 Delta Dragons accepted their diplomas.
“Even though you came from different schools, you came together at Delta as a family,” principal Esther Prieto-Chavez told her graduates in a sun-splashed ceremony outside the school.
One hundred thirteen of the graduates posted a 3.5 grade point average or better. Jasmin Bautista and Giovanni Martinez were honored as the Most Improved Students of the class.
Two others who flourished in Delta’s “family” atmosphere were Adrian Lopez-Chavez and Jordan Hornlein, who were honored as Students of the Year.
Jordan struggled in Central Coast high schools after returning to the area from Medford, Ore., until landing at Delta.
“I’m so proud of her,” said her beaming mother Jennifer Hornlein. “She’s doing so awesome.”
Adrian addressed the crowd and his fellow graduates in the class’s Senior Reflection. He talked about being just another “nameless face” in previous schools.
“I used to hate going to school,” he said, explaining how he spent as much time avoiding it as he did in the classroom. “The first day at Delta was the best I ever had. The rest just kept getting better.”
Adrian said he was told by other school administrators he would not graduate with his class. At Delta, he not only graduated, he graduated as a junior with 100 percent attendance in his final year.
Like most of the graduates, Alondra Torres is continuing her education. She will be attending Hancock College and wants to join the California Highway Patrol.
“It’s exciting, but I still have a long way to go in college,” she said.
Pastor Frank Charmoli, of the Church For Life in Santa Maria, told the graduates that Delta High School opened the door for him 17 years ago when he graduated. He said a lot has changed since 1997 when Elton John’s “Candle In The Wind” topped the charts, the motion picture “Titanic” captured Oscars and a gallon of gas cost around $1.50.
“One thing hasn’t changed, though. That’s the opportunity Delta gave me and will give you,” Charmoli said. “From here you can do anything you want. The doors are wide open and only you can close them.
“It doesn’t matter how you got here. All that matters is that you are sitting here in your cap and gown ready to graduate.”