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PRIDE grads prepared to move on

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A stirring rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" was provided by Michael Shehata as part of PRIDE High School graduation ceremonies held Tuesday night. Shehata was one of 37 PRIDE seniors who received their diplomas Tuesday night.

They plan to become Marines, commercial artists, nurses and some will "just go out and get a job," said PRIDE High School principal Gary Babcock, as he called off the names of the 2005 graduating class of PRIDE High School Tuesday night.

In front of their family and friends gathered at the Sunnyside High School auditorium, the class of 37 seniors celebrated the close of the first chapter of their life. Some announced plans to continue their education, attending technical schools, community colleges and art schools.

"Some of this class have gotten to this point after a lot of trials and hardships," said Babcock. "But they have all succeeded largely because of their own hard work and the support of family and friends," he added.

"A lot of people look at PRIDE High School as a second best school. But I see it as a school for a second chance," said Natalie Ramos, who along with Marisol Arteaga and Kristina Henriquez were selected as graduating class speakers

"When I came here (to PRIDE) I didn't think I would fit in," said Ramos, who now views herself as a winner.

"I know a lot of us want to stay in this moment forever. But I view my time at PRIDE as the perfect ending for the first chapter of my life," she said.

Henriquez agreed, adding many of her class don't know where they will be in the fall. But Henriquez, who was named as the recipient of one of two $500 Sunnyside School Board Directors Scholarships, will be attending Yakima Valley Community College, majoring in nursing.

She wished her class good luck, adding, "We finally did it."

Arteaga gave credit to her teachers and to her mother for sticking on her case to finish her high school education.

"We are graduating tonight, but this is just the beginning of our journey," she said.

Also named as a recipient of a $500 Sunnyside School Board Directors Scholarship was Jose Candido, who will be attending the Seattle Art Institute in the fall to study animation.

Other scholarship winners are Natalie Ramos and Jessica Galvan, who have each received a $500 Coca Cola Scholarship to continue their education.

Adding to the ceremony was musical presentations by seniors Michael Shehata, who played the national anthem on the electric guitar, and Misael Andrade, who sang "Hard to say Good-bye," a cappella.

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