The two best graduates look to the future


It’s a tradition that’s been missed and will be welcomed, as the seniors of Oakdale High School return to a packed Corral this Friday, May 27 at 7 p.m. to participate in the class of 2022 graduation ceremony. This year, attendance is not limited to a few attendees per graduate, as was the case during the COVID-influenced 2021 ceremony.

While the red graduation gowns and mortars will once again be in place, seniors Cesar Garcia Santana and Gannon Camp will take the stage to present the class with outgoing speeches as the 2022 Valedictorian and Salutatorian, respectively.

Given Walt Disney’s quote, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them,” as the theme of their speeches, the duo shared mixed emotions as they addressed the class.

As valedictorian Santana shared, he felt his four years on the academy decathlon team prepared him well for this moment in the spotlight and beyond.

“Caesar is very good,” Salutatorian Camp said of his counterpart. “I think it will be fine. I will have it (the speech) in front of me so that I can read the page. I’m quite nervous, honestly.

While the talk at hand may be the current focus, it’s what’s to come in the coming months that excites the two young men.

“I was admitted to UC Berkeley. I plan to go there for the next four years,” Santana said of her graduation plans after high school.

Noting that he has been accepted to UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Cal Poly Pomona, Stanislaus State, and CSU Monterey Bay, he will major in electrical engineering and computer science at Berkeley.

“I would love to do something with computers because there really is so much you can do with it,” he said of his chosen major. “There is cybersecurity, computer hardware, computer software, all that stuff. It’s so different, but that’s all I love.

While Santana travels to the Bay Area, Camp will head to Monterey Bay to attend CSU Monterey. His middle finger is currently unstated; however, he has a strong interest in cinematic arts and technology.

The camp has also received letters of acceptance from UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, and Stanislaus State.

“It’s a beautiful region. It’s near the beach. A little cheaper,” Camp said of the Monterey pick. “I want to be like a bigger fish in a small pond.”

As the oldest members of their families, the two shared that they were both thrilled to have the opportunity to venture away from 95361 and start a new chapter.

“I’ll be away for the first time,” Camp said of what he’s most looking forward to. “It sure is nerve-wracking, but it will definitely be something new that I’ve never experienced before.”

“I’m just excited to see a bigger city,” Santana said of going to Berkeley. “Oakdale is missing a few stores and just a few more additions. It could be really fun to live here, but something is missing and somewhere like Berkeley or really anywhere bigger, would just have a lot more to offer. would love to live in a big city just for fun.

The seniors each acknowledged their relief and gratitude to not only be able to return to campus for classes this year, but also to be able to have a traditional degree.

“It’s relieving,” admitted Santana to be able to have a “normal” degree.

“Now there’s an opportunity there that the seniors haven’t really had and we have it, so it’s exciting at the moment,” Camp added, with the 2020 and 2021 classes not having the chance to celebrate with a full traditional ceremony.

Still, the COVID learning and COVID years remain a not-too-distant memory for the duo and a sure part of their high school history.

“You definitely get a better in-person experience with everyone around you. Too bad the last seniors couldn’t fully experience their senior year. And I’m grateful that we can,” Santana said.

As they venture south and west, the two look forward to forming new relationships at campuses of their choosing.

“Everyone is pretty close, you know, it’s like a close community. So we have to learn to find friends, almost like a kind of family, which might be different in college. I think it’s a skill a bit like finding people that I have to take with me,” Camp said.

“I definitely feel the same way you do,” Santana added, agreeing with Camp. “You develop a really strong connection with a close group of friends. If you can take that with you to college, for some colleges, it’s a huge community. If you can find that small group of friends and stick with them , you will definitely benefit from it.

The Oakdale High School graduation is on the OHS campus on Friday, May 27 at 7 p.m.

Oakdale Junior High’s graduation is Thursday, May 26 at 7 p.m. at the high school.

Oakdale Charter School is hosting its graduation on Wednesday, May 25 at 5 p.m. at the Cloverland Multipurpose Hall/Amphitheater and East Stanislaus/Valley Oak Alternative Education graduates are hosting their ceremony on Wednesday, May 25 at 7 p.m. at the High School Oakdale.


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