10th anniversary brings pride, respect to 774 Great Oak High School graduates

Symbols of pride have long been used to represent admiration and respect throughout history. From warrior paint to landmarks to flags, each carries its own significance and honor, but on the eve of June 5, 2014, it came in the form of a lightweight, navy blue windbreaker.

Kenneth M. Young, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, has continually focused his efforts on ensuring the success of all students in the county during his seven year tenure in office. His primary goal? Seeing every student in Riverside County graduate from high school.

So it comes as no surprise that when he retrieves his most favored possession to wear under his gown during graduation ceremonies, the words that emboss the light jacket are Great Oak High School.

During his commencement speech at Great Oak High School’s 10-year anniversary graduation, Young went on to explain how he was bestowed the jacket as a gift years ago during the school’s opening days. Since then, he has taken it with him to every graduation ceremony in the county he has been a part of.

Young has reason to be proud, according to co-principal Keith Moore, Great Oak leads the rest as the number one school in the county – amongst 450,000 – and is in the top two percent of schools in the nation.

“In 1900, the graduation rate was below seven percent,” said Young. “In 2014, the graduation rate nationwide was 75 percent, 83.5 percent in the county, and Great Oak High School’s graduation rate was 97.4 percent.”

As cheers erupted from the graduates, it was apparent that they were all equally as proud of their accomplishments.

Graduating, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. One hundred and two graduates also received the distinct honor of recognition from the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. Hundreds more filled the ranks of National Honor Society, AVID, Advanced Placement and the California Scholarship Federation. This year, four students claimed the title of valedictorian – Kelly Von Zup, Tristan Griggs, Athena Konicki, and Hyo Jin Park.

There are many great schools in our midst but this one leads the rest, said Young.

“Great Oak is the Harvard of high schools in Riverside County,” he concluded. “As you turn your tassels, look around and take in the moment, and remember, I carry your school’s jacket with me wherever I go.”

Overcoming fears

As student speakers began to take the stage, there was one common theme that tied their speeches together: fear can, and should, be overcome.

Fear is defined as an emotion induced by an impending danger or threat. Whether real or imagined, the reactions to such a feeling are all the same. But the feeling of triumph, of overcoming your fears, is much greater.

Graduate Roge Karma noted that the number one common fear amongst humans is public speaking, the second being death. There is an underlying fear to be considered, however, Karma said, and that is the fear of failure.

When it comes to public speaking, it is not the act alone that scares individuals, but rather the embarrassment that keeps them from speaking their mind, he added.

Embarrassment stems from the fear of failure. But, as Karma stated, failure is a part of everyday life.

“We have to look at our failures not as a means to an end, but rather, a new beginning,” said Karma.

He went on to list the various ways in which he fails every day – failing to wake up at the first buzz of his alarm clock, failing to arrive to class on time, failing to complete and turn in his assignments. But instead of being repressed by these failures, Karma encouraged others to use these moments of failure as motivation – motivation to improve one’s self and succeed.

Valedictorian Athena Konicki had a similar encouragement. She related her experiences during junior year of high school to speeding when driving – rushing to arrive at a particular destination but missing the monuments along the way. While a fear for the future guided her actions – completing college applications and filing them before their deadlines, studying as hard as possible to receive the highest of grades, participating in numerous extracurricular activities to list on said applications, Konicki reminded fellow graduates that this fear only prevents you from experiencing the present.

“Slow down and enjoy the moment, but don’t ever be afraid,” Konicki said.

“We don’t have more time in life (to do things differently), so pay attention,” added fellow Valedictorian Hyo Kin Park.

Looking forward

Co-principal Keith Moore heaped praise on the class of 2014, reminding them that passion is the energy that pushes us forward. As he directed his attention to the 6,000 proud parents, friends, and loved ones in the stands, Moore reiterated the graduates’ accomplishments throughout the year in sports, music, and academics.

“Passion is the energy that drives the force of the spirit,” Moore said, telling the graduates that he hoped they would carry this passion with them for the rest of their lives.

You have built the foundation for future classes to come, he added.

Graduate Johnathan Balcon advised fellow graduates to remember the time they spent at Great Oak High School, along with the memories they made amongst its halls.

“Remember what Mr. Skaggs would always say – ‘Have a Great Oak day.’ And remember what Mr. Skaggs said to us today – ‘Have a Great Oak life,” Balcon said. “I am proud to be a part of this school.”

He added that graduates should focus on the challenges they faced, but more importantly, how they overcame them in order to succeed.

“We are the future CEOs, doctors, and rappers,” exclaimed Balcon. “Claim your future.”


Andrey Abab

Alexa Acquista

Rachel Adamos

Zachary Adkins

Roosevelt Adrianza

Sean Michael Adversalo

Melanie Aguilar

Nazeeh Al Ghazawneh

Amir Alahwal

Jazmin Alcala

Donelle Ann Alcantara

Sandy Aldape

Brittney Allen

Briana Amezcua

Narick Amezcua

Alanna Anderson

Kyle Anderson

Dominique Anguiano

Andrew Anton

Camren Apodaca

Kayla Arbini

Scott Arlich

Hunter Arriaga

Christian Ascencio

Shane Atkinson

Martynas Auzelis

Amelia Avila

Leticia Avila

Valencia Aviles

Oscar Ayala

Ke Bai

Jacob Bailey

Jeremiah Bailey

Jonathan Balcon

Milad Balkhinezhad

Brittany Ballou

Kevin Bandfield

Paul Bandong

Jasmine Barbour

James Barker

Meredith Barker

Kyle Barnett

Rebecca Barnett

Johnathan Basquez

Tatijana Bass

Cadie Bates

Robert Batiste

Jake Bauchert

Natalie Bayer

Ryan Beardsley

Eric Bechtel

Mason Beeman

Savannah Bell

Alec Bennett

Bailey Benson

Matthew Benton

David Berling

Aaron Bernal

Andrew Betancourt

Kassandra Bivins

Brandon Blum

Sarah Blythe

Reymar Bolo

Mary Boner

Danielle Bong

Dakota Boore

Evan Borchardt

Alison Bortcosh

Scott Bostock

Gregory Boulet

Kayla Boyd

Julian Bradley

Kaitlynn Bradley

Lauren Bradley

Faith Brandt

Amanda Brayton

Robert Briggs

Esther Briones

Hans Britsch

Autumn Brown

Briana Brown

Cassandra Brown

Taylor Brownlee

Martin Buehler

Russell Buhler

Hunter Burgett

Summer Burke

Max Burrow

Aaliyah Busch

Dillon Butler

Taylor Butterfield

Michael Cacho

Christian Calain

Clarence Calhoun

David Camacho

Kyleigh Camp

Dakota Campbell

Hunter Campbell

Anthony Caracciolo

Ariana Caraway

Peter Carbullido

Emily Carby

Itzel Cardenas

Lindsey Cargill

Sydney Carper

Preston Carradus

Courtney Carrico

Adrianna Carrillo

Alec Carrillo

Christopher Cason

Justin Catibayan

Richard Cerros Baker

Rigel Kent Cervantes

Ryan Chamberlain

Alexia Chang

Oscar Chapa

Marcel Chappell

Ryan Charleson

Aidan Chavarin

Lauren Chechile

Steven Chen

Kelvin Cheng

Yvonne Cheng

Kelli Childers

Shaylynn Chlarson Hernandez

Julia Choi

Steven Christensen

Arhon Jan Chua

Nicholas Chubb

Tyler Chukes

Megan Chun

Brittany Cid

Gina Cioffi

Jade Clancy

Braeden Clewis

Amanda Coale

Trevor Cobb

Kate Cockroft

Chloe Coles

William Collinson

William Condit

Jonathan Connary

Joshua Constant

Dominique Cook

Jordan Cook

Joshua Cooper

Carston Coram

Ashley Cornell

Katherina Cortes

Matthew Cribben

Amy Crnkovic

Raychell Croft

Jason Cruz

Javier Cuan Martinez

Alyssa Culpepper

Ryan Cummings

Cambria Curry

Alec Cwener

Taylor Dancy

Donaven Daniel

Brandon Daniels

Trenton Daub

Paige Daviess

Hubert Davis

Bailey Dean

Mallory DeAvila

Antonio DeGaetano

Taylor DeJonge

Santino Desopo

Luke Diaz

Tatiana Diaz Gallegos

Blake Dice

Brianna Dice

Kody Dickerson

Drew Diemer

Brett Dillon

Kasiana Diltz

Curtis Dismukes

Brennan Dizon

Stephen Dodson

Cheyenne Dolleschal

Savannah Dominguez

Eduardo Dominguez Beltran

Hunter Donovan

Haley Dorris

Kizzy Downs

Cole Drechsler

Luke Dubbs

Cody Dubia

Alexis Duenes

German Duenez

Emily Dunn

Xena Dunn

Catherine Durcan

Emily Ear

Alyssa Eberle

Samantha Ecalnir

George Eddy

Brennen Eisenhut

Fouad Elabdallah

Rakan Elafrangi

Maya Elliott

Dillon Emery

Zora Emery

Daniela Escalante

Andrew Escamilla

Elizabeth Escamilla

Andrea Esparza

Justin Esparza

Jesus Evangelista

Eric Evens

Christopher Fallone

Kalynne Fang

Brandon Fangon

Arianna Farha

Ciara Farley

James Farol

Jazmyn Daniel Faulkner

Jasmin Fegley

Amanda Felton

Matthew Ferguson

Abril Fernandez

Savanna Ferstle

Sarah Finlayson

Connor Flores

Karlie Foley

Dante Fonseca

Fabiana Fonseca

Christopher Foster

Emily Foster

Zoe Franco

Marissa Frausto

Hayley Frederick

Teyaira Frederick

Mitch Frisby

Brenna Fronk

Micheal Furie

Patrick Furlong

Ilona Gadzhuk

Jessica Gaffney

Daniel Garcia

Diego Garcia

Jenessa Garcia

Laura Garcia

Melany Garcia

Sarah Garcia

Janelle Garland

Brady Gartner

Andrew Garzon

Patryk Giba

Isabel Gibbons

Gabriel Gilbert

Herjot Gill

Tyler Giroux

Keishywn Glassco

Jessica Gleeson

Anthony Glisson

Brian Gondar

Matthew Gonzales

Kaylee Gonzalez

Kevin Gonzalez

Leslie Gonzalez

Nicolas Gonzalez Breton

Emily Goodman

Megan Goodnough

Weston Gotuzzo

Alexis Gould

Courtney Grasser

Noah Green

Sarah Greenberg

Caitlin Greninger

Tristan Griggs

Dakota Grijalva

Paige Groce

Devon Groh

Robert Groth

Jenifer Grove

Alexander Groves

Karina Guerrero

Domonique Guillen Malott

Viannei Gutierrez

Alexander Hall

Kristina Ham

Kathryn Hanlon Hall

Elizabeth Hansen

Tyler Hardcastle

Haley Harden

Brett Harris

Briana Harris

Ivy Harris

Kyarra Harris

Samuel Hartnett

Austin Hawthorne

Arden Haynes

Codie Hays

Trevor Hazen

Devaun Hebert

Grace Heidmann

Ashley Helbig

Michelle Helbig

Amira Henderson

Desmond Hennesy

Jared Henningsen

Andrea Henthorn

Nicholas Herington

Alexia Hernandez

Rachel Hernandez

Jodi Herron

Scott Hillock

Danielle Hirai

Mathew Hobby

Wyatt Holland

Tayler Holm

Jessie Hong

Anissa Hopson

Caleb Howard

Brooke Howay

Monica Hughes

Yadira Hurtado

Cassie Victoria Ignacio

McKenzie Igo

Panida Imerb

Alina Jackson

Jahdai Jackson

Tyler Jacob

Auria Jafari

Breanna Javier

McKenna Jenkins

Hunter Jensen

Michelle Jerse

Montana Jewett

Asami Johnson

Erik Johnson

Sarah Johnson

Amanda Jones

Austin Jones

Ebony Jones

Rachel Jones

Octavio Jordan

Stephen Jordan

Luana Keale Andrea Jourdan

Jesse Jungblut

Delaney Jures

Christian Kalafut

Kahlil Kali

Aayush Kapur

Moe Kariu

Roge Karma

Ariana Kasim

Keelia Kavanagh

Alicia Kawamoto

Lindsay Keeler

Lucas Keener

Katelyn Kelley

Adam Kelsey

Peter Kemper

Robert Kenefick

Kristin Kenyon

Mikyla Kerr

Shayna Khachadoorian

Nabil Khoury

Davin Kim

Elizabeth Kim

Haleigh Kincaid

Ashley Kirby

Kyle Kitley

Joseph Kleist

Hyun Min Ko

Sounnaly Kongmalay

Athena Konicki

Finley Konold

Tavaras Koonce

Emily Korby

Shelden Koslicki

Ryan Kostecki

Savannah Kruse

Alexander Kubokawa Vogtmann

Tyler Kuhn

Victoria Lacy

Dinah Laguna

Cassidy Lam

Titus Lam

Dorothy Landon

Kylie Larkin

Austin Larrabee

Kelly Laughton

Vanessa Lawson

Jessica Lay

Xavier Lazaro

Ria Ainsley Lazo

Christopher Le

Christian Lechuga

Paul Lee

Richard Lee

So Min Lee

Jennifer LeFort

Kristine Legaspi

Dean Lenhart

Sara Leon

Sripatra Lertpaichaiyon

Rui Li

Elias Lingos

Kyle Link

Erick Liscio

Jaeridan Lloyd

Marcus Rawland Lloyd

Leah Loaeza

Joshua Longhurst

Brandon Lopez

Christopher Lopez

Fabiola Lopez

Luis Lopez

Mateo Lopez

Samuel Lopez

Brianna Losey

Andrew Lottig

Brooke Lowrey

Sandra Loza

Jesse Lozano

Nicholas Lozano

Jonathan Lucas

Jordan Lucas

Cianna Luna

Junjie Luo

Connor Maass

Matthew Mabee

Jenny Macalintal

Avelaka Macarro

Cortney Mace

Raegan Mackay

Daniel Maes

Krizsa Magalong

Anthony Magana

Christian Magana

Stephanie Mahlerbe

Gurpreet Mahli

Samantha Maland

Lauren Malcomson

Adam Malik

Steven Mallott

Thomas Mandel

Gabrielle Manglicmot

Kendall Mann

Calden Mares

Janealle Marino

McKensie Marion

Healey Marsch

Wyatt Martin

Zamahira Martinez

Kelvin Martir

Jessica Regine Masanque

Montana Massone

Aaron Maya

Christina McCalmont

Hannah McConnell

Patrick McDermott

Natika McDonald

John McFadden

Mackayla McGetrick

Alexander McGonegal

Lindsey McIntosh

Shelbie McKuhn

Hannah McMahon

Frank McManus

Tyler McNally

Austin Means

Jessie Medina

Parker Meeks

Bailey Mejia

Kaitlyn Melgoza

Brandon Menjivar

Arezou Merzaie

Steven Miller

Justin Minervini

Matilyn Miracle

Jessica Mobley

Andrew Molinar

Vianey Mondragon

Brendan Monge

Hannah Monroe

Jamie Moore

Savannah Mortimer

Davina Mosely

Trevor Murphy

Michelle Myers

Yezzan Naber

Vanessa Najera

Christopher Nava

Maria Navarro

Rocky Nehk

Harley Newcome Riviere

Thomas Newton

Don Ngo

Anthony Nguyen

Jessica Nguyen

Kevin Nguyen

Riley Nguyen

Thai Nguyen

Uyen Ly Nguyen

Anthony Nissan

Kaitlyn Nock

Emica Norris

Daniel Nunez

Lauren Nunez

Kaitlin O Brien

Andrew Ocano

Natalie Oddi

Eurie Oh

Ignacio Olaguez

Jessica Oldham

Arturo Olguin

Jhunclaire Ona

Matthew Owens

Brenden Padilla

Christian Padilla

Medille Padua

Andrew Painter

John Panique

Gabriela Pantoja

Hana Papaco

Bridget Parish

Hyo Jin Park

Cierra Parker

Jonah Parker

Jennalin Partee

Lauren Patterson

Jordan Paulk

Jazmine Payne

Kellen Pearson

Belen Pelayo

Daniel Pena

Felicia Perches

Alexandra Perez

Humberto Perez Sopena

Andres Perkins

Francis Perlas

Jacqueline Perry

Blaire Persell

Kylie Petersen

Christian Pham

Tiffany Pham

Timothy Phimmasone

Brittany Pina

Elysia Pina

Judith Pinchot

Isabel Pineda Moreno

Sabrina Pitchford

Sean Pitchford

Heidi Pitkin

Hannah Pollak

Ashley Ponce

Adrian Porras

Rachel Potts

Daniel Prado

Nishant Prakash

Kelly Pregler

Christine Premananthan

Alana Price

Brian Prieboy

Alexis Provost

Adam Prusinowski

Savannah Purdy

Eduardo Augustine Quinata

David Ramirez

Monique Ramirez

Ulises Ramirez

Sarah Ray

Leonardo Resendiz

Edgar Retener

Reeva Rycca Reyes

Brittney Reyna

Colten Reynolds

Justin Ricafort

Angela Rice

Nina Richards

Marissa Richter

Roniza Maric Ridenour

Marlon Riefer

Kara Riley

Amber Rivadeneira

Luis Rivera

Roberto Robles

Nathan Rocha

Adrian Rodriguez

Arturo Rodriguez

Austin Rodriguez

Brett Rodriguez

Carlos Rodriguez

Jamie Roebuck Joseph

Colin Rogers

Christian Romero

Carlos Romero Cota

John Romig

Alisha Rose

Emma Rosenthal

Brendon Ross Greenberg

Carl Rosser

Nathan Rothwell

Donovan Roundtree

Shannon Rowley

Daniel Aldrin Rubiano

Haley Ruble

Ernesto Ruiz

Jeffrey Ruiz

Mary Runde

Roya Rustamzada

Christian Ruth

Devon Ryle

Daniela Salazar Monarrez

Abner Salvador

Alexander Sanchez

Allison Sanchez

Andrea Sanchez

Jonathon Sanchez

Katelynn Sanchez

Joseph Sandoval

Ruben Santana

Andrew Sarkis

Landre Savage

Jake Savant

Dylan Scheidt

Taylor Schultz

Miranda Schulz

Laura Schumacher

Matthew Schweiger

Emily Scott

Gary Scott

Serena Scott

Iman Sedighian

Dante Senior

Cristian Serrano

Carley Sessor

Satya Shah

Hussein Shahine

Sumesh Sharma

Alec Shaw

Jordon Shepherd

Zachary Sherman

Dominic Shima

Preston Shore

Jeffrey Shumate

Mojgan Siddiqi

Joshua Siemers

Paul Sihavong

Rebekah Silva

Cameron Silver

Hunter Silver

Cheyenne Simon

Emily Simpson

Everly Simpson

Mark Skeans

Breanna Smith

Brittany Smith

Jeremy Smith

Sarah Smith

Carly Smouse

Kaylee Snyder

Aimee Solano

Andrew Soltysiak

Ashley Sorenson

Nicolas Soto

Casey Sotto

Cory Souza

Quinn Spencer

Taelor Stafford

Melissa Stanfill

Katelyn Starbuck

Taylor Steffens

Shannon Stevens

Analisa Stiltner

Rachel Stinger

Caitlyn Stinson Diess

Hailey Strode

Jeremy Stumpp

Gwyneth Sturdivant

Melvin Su

Emily Sullivan

Chandler Surette

Daria Szepkouski

John Louie Ray Tagulao

Hannah Talpash

Melanie Tan

Barbara Tangas

Daniel Jhun Tanjuaquio

Marissa Taylor

Sheldon Taylor

Maria Tazbaz

Carliene Thompson

Keani Thompson

Mika Thompson

Karin Thrasher

Danielle Tichy

Taylor Tickner

Katelyn Tierman

Kristan Tiritilli

Samantha Torday

Lawrence Torres

Alex Traconis

Kelly Trammell

Alexis Trempe

Jessica Tuccinardi

Tami Tucker

Joshua Tuione

Ian Tyler

Quentin Tyrrell

Airaleen Ubaldo

Allison Underwood

Kennedy Ursua

Jenna Utter

Shayan Vahdati

Danielle Vail

Lucas Valdivieso

Kaleigh Van Cura

Brandi Van Dinter

Meghan Van Hise

Kevin Vasquez

Alexa Vazquez

Anthony Vazquez

Noel Vicino

Dillon Vilaiphanh

Elias Villafuerte

Clovis Vinant Tang

Jerimi Vindua

Rachel Vito

Mackenzie Vonasek

Kelly VonZup

Kason Voorhees

Courtney Vose

Mckenna Wade

Chandler Wagoner

Devin Walker

Jason Wallis

Christian Walsh

Adilee Walters

Courtney Warren

Andrew Wartick

Malcolm Washington

Jared Watson

Bradley Wegman

Damon Weimann

Abigail Welch

Dustin Wert

Isaiah Wesby

Micah Wesson

Erin White

Kennedy White

Rianna White

Cayden Whitten

Jordan Wicklas

Christina Wiklund

Jordyn Wilcox

Austin Williams

Mackenzie Williams

Megyn Williams

Christopher Wilson

Amber Winbury

Shayne Witham

Cody Woeller

Brandon Wolf

Ashley Wood

Caitlin Workman

Aidan Wright

Jillian Wulf

Chelsea Wynia

Ryann Yamamoto

Raekwon Yates

Jade Yelton

Connor Young

Montserrat Yrigoyen

Karleen Yuen

Joseph Zamora

Alyssa Zapata

Emily Zavala

Nicholas Zimmermann

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