June 24, 2002

"WELL, THERE YA' GO!" said Sunol Glen eighth-grade teacher, Laura Dennis, sending her charges out into the world. Our little country school celebrated its 77th graduation and the Class of 2002 adopted their teacher's oft-repeated favorite saying as their class motto. And there they went.

Quite a few of Sunol Glen's twenty graduates have been attending school here with the same classmates for most of grade school and middle school - a benefit and bane of having one-class-per grade. Many of the teachers and staff welcomed these children as they arrived, and will be here next year to continue on with each succeeding class.

There's a unique continuity here. It's a school where the parent volunteers return year after year and teachers rarely leave before retirement. Perhaps it is the continuity of the caring adults - staff, parents, and involved members of the community - that gives our graduates a unique and valuable stability they take with them when they go.

Speaking of parent volunteers, Leslie Roberts took a giant step into the volunteer bravery hall of fame. I've seen parents tottering atop ladders, getting sunburned at walkathons, and boarding buses with hormone-enraged teenagers. But Leslie did something most of us would never attempt: she sang "The Star Spangled Banner!" A'capella, no less! And she nailed it!

The graduates are:

Evan Alexander, Kayla L. Cheves, Kari Davis, Nick DeStarr, Murray R. Foster, Richard H. Foster II, Sarah Gbadebo, Andres Gutierrez, Brittany Harper, Dominique Hartkopf, Alexander Johnson, Katie McKewon, Kristen Mumolo, Lauren Roberts, Donovan R. Chmura, Tyler A. Santos, Danielle Scroggins, Martin D. Smith, Jillian Sweetnam, and Lindsey Thurman.

Almost all of the eighth-graders participated in the evening's program, which included highlights of their years at Sunol Glen, ten-years-from-now predictions from each graduate, and presentation of gifts to parent volunteers, their teacher and their school. The gift to the school from the Class of 2002 is the refurbishing and updating of the school's marquee.

Though many of the students' predictions for their futures were tongue-in-cheek, they envisioned themselves as everything from owner of a resort on the moon, to owner of a magazine; from becoming parents, to becoming drag racers, chefs, teachers and philanthropists. Oh, and they're all going to be very, very rich. They may have grown up together, but these kids have lots of different dreams and we hope they all come true.

Superintendent-Principal Diane Everett quoted astronaut Sally Ride in her message to the grads, telling them never to lose their vision, and to strive to reach the pinnacle of any undertaking. She also presented the Sunol Glen Scholarship, given annually by Sunol staff to a graduating high school senior who graduated from Sunol Glen.

This year's recipient is Patricia Carpenter, Foothill Class of 2002. Patty spoke meaningfully to the eighth-graders about the importance of being a caring person, challenging them to be kind to everyone they meet in high school. Patty was also instrumental in campaigning for Sunol Glen's Student Council President, Alex Johnson, in his successful bid to serve as Foothill High School's freshman class Vice President in the fall. Alex was also chosen to receive the Sunol Student Leadership award presented by Student Council Advisor Laura Dennis.

The Commencement Speakers were Nancy Brazil and Sandy Luce, co-teachers of Sunol's seventh grade. Aretha Franklin's "Respect" played as the ladies took the stage, setting all of the grads and guests clapping in time. The grads heard that song every morning of seventh grade, reminding them that respect was the theme for that year. Obviously, they liked the message, and the messengers.

The Sunol Glen School District Board of Trustees, Gerry Beemiller, Bob Foster, and Guin Van Dyke joined Laura Dennis to hand out the diplomas. Diane Everett placed a beautiful flower lei around the neck of each graduates, as headed to the cafeteria for the reception in their honor put on by the seventh-graders and their families. While they snacked and posed, the eighth-grade parents transformed the auditorium from a commencement hall into a tropical island for the graduation dance.

The Sunol Glen Class of 2002 would like to thank the Trustees, Mrs. Everett, and the 26 members of the school faculty and staff for their encouragement and support. Congratulations to all the graduates and their families, and the very best of luck in high school.

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