Making the grade

Alta Vista High School teachers, graduates work hard to get back on track

Bill Pierce, principal of Alta Vista High School, always keeps a tissue box handy during his school's graduation ceremony. That's because Pierce, along with the rest of the faculty at Alta Vista, invest a great amount of time and sweat every year getting their students back on track.

"It's hugely rewarding," Pierce said of this year's graduation, held June 1 at Mountain View High School's Spartan Theatre.

Pierce is not the only one who is moved by the ceremony each year. Though graduating seniors at Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District's continuation school may not be bound for Ivy League schools, many in the class of 2011 do have college plans. That, in and of itself, is an achievement worthy of celebration, he said.

"In many respects, these are kids who weren't supposed to make it," Pierce said. "Not only did they make it, but they have a great launching pad to move forward."

Many students show up at Alta Vista more than a year behind, and some come from families where no one has yet earned a diploma, Pierce said. Still, more than 80 percent of students in this year's graduating class of 56 students have college plans of some kind.

For these reasons, Pierce said, the Alta Vista commencement ceremony is always emotionally charged. Additionally, because the small size of the graduating class, graduating seniors are asked to write a short address. These speeches are read by Alta Vista teachers at the ceremony before each student is officially presented a diploma.

The highly individualized graduation ceremony is consistent with how the school operates on the whole. "Our teachers are tenacious," Pierce said. "To the extent that they are able, they will not let a student fail."

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Alta Vista High School's class of 2011:

Jose Aguilar

Ricardo Alvarez

Jesus Amaya Jurado

Amy Andrada

Jose Antonio Garcia

Viridiana Arenas

Ivan Arreola

Alexis Ayala

Veronica Beller

Bryan Betancourt

Alexandria Bibbs

Juan Bocanegra

Megan Brooks

Nika Brundage

Michael Castillo

Jorge Corona

Krystal DeCook

Jorge Diaz

Lauren Ermacoff

Julio Garcia

Darian Gonzalez

Robert Scott Gray

Simon Guan

Alyssa Hamilton

Tyler Harney

Ja'rod Holmes

Allison Hyer

Yoshiaki Kanamori

Mohammad Khan

Max Kibler

Angelica King

T.J. Latu

Vidal Lopez

Ema Macias

Isaac Macias

Juan Magana Alvarez

Cynthia Mendez

Dulce Merced-Valencia

William Mosco

A'Jene Norton

Taylor Pasin

Jose Pedraza

Dee Pei

Erik Posey

Ariana Quijano

Shane Salemi

Erika Sanchez

Jamie Simmons

Karina Soto

Chelsea Speakman

Shilan Ugur

Natalie Veldhouse

Demecco Velez

Jose Villanueva

Jason Whitten

Jennifer Yañez


Like this comment
Posted by Alice
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 10, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Congratulations to the staff and the students at Alta Vista School. This long list of graduating seniors is a true vindication of their hard work and dedication.

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