Cynthia Ochoa was nervous. In many ways, this was to be expected. Ochoa was about to give a graduation speech to the 505 other graduating Davis High School seniors and the countless relatives and friends milling just outside the Ron & Mary Brown Stadium on campus Friday night.
But Ochoa was more nervous about what people would think when she mentioned her 1-year-old son, Luis, whom she affectionately calls Luisito, in her speech.
“I’m scared. Of course, a lot of the people in the community know I do have a baby, but a lot don’t,” said Ochoa, the only graduating DHS teenage mother. “I’m just really nervous about older people, and what they’re going to think, and if they’re gonna judge me. At the same time, I’m proud of being a mom.”
As a young mother headed to Sacramento City College, Ochoa has a slightly different perspective on the past three years at DHS.
“I would be lying if I said that everything that I accomplished I’ve done by myself,” Ochoa said. “Most of the community has helped me in so many ways.”
Although she seemed anxious while waiting, when Ochoa took the podium under the clear blue sky to give her speech, titled “Gratitude,” she appeared confident.
Ochoa’s son, wearing a suit, looked on from the third row, along with his father and Ochoa’s father and his girlfriend, as Ochoa thanked the DHS parenting center and the local Walchli family for letting her live with them after the birth of her son.
Mara Seaton followed Ochoa, in a speech titled “A Life Unlived,” in which she expressed regret that she didn’t participate in enough school activities and acted “like a stupid, uninhibited teenager.”
“I’m struck by one thing: I don’t know you, and I can pretty much guarantee the majority of you don’t know me,” Seaton said. “You will leave this place without the thing that now consumes me: regret.”
Jimmy Yo preceded Ochoa, and spoke about the DHS bubble and the culture surrounding some students to be perfect.
In addition to three student speakers, school board members, administrators and teachers also addressed the crowd during the commencement ceremony.
There was a clear air of excitement as the students, friends and family listened to the speakers and waited for the distribution of diplomas.
“I was excited all day,” DHS principal Jacqui Moore said. “I have great hopes for them.”
In welcoming the crowd, Moore gave a short speech comparing students to “ninjas,” a phrase commonly used by students to describe those able to sneak up easily on others.
“I gradually came to understand that this ninja was a stealthy, incredibly skilled being who almost transcended what we believed was possible,” Moore said in her speech. “To be a ninja requires full faith that you can actually be one.”
Moore told students to follow their passions, and to “never stop being the ninja.”
Kristin Swanstrom, a government teacher at DHS, gave the keynote speech, urging students that “this is your life, so go for it.”
“When (people) say, ‘You have made a difference in my life,’ then you will know you have led a life that matters,” Swanstrom said.
The delta breeze picked up as night fell, the stadium grew a little cool in the not-quite-summer air, and a special seniors-only choir sang “Fields of Gold” by Sting.
Students tossed a few whimsical beach balls into the air and audibly groaned when faculty intercepted them.
“It’s bittersweet, because I’m losing so many talented students, but it’s very exciting to see them take off, develop and grow,” said teacher Karen Gardias, adding that the ceremony provided “closure for the year (…) and a sense of accomplishment for the students and me.”
Graduate Emily Bamforth, who will be attending Bryn Mawr College in the fall, described the feeling as “just sort of surreal.”
“I can’t believe it’s happening,” she said. “It hasn’t hit me yet. I think some people are definitely ready, but others are more hesitant.”
“I think it’s just hitting everyone, that it’s done,” said graduate George Bennett.
The mega-watt light towers turned on as night fell and the final part of the ceremony, the presentation of the diplomas, finally arrived.
Audience members were asked to hold their applause as teachers Daniel Gonzalez and David Blackwell read the names of students accepting diplomas for more than half an hour, from “Frederick Acker” to “Jiajing Zhang.”
“It’s exciting to think of all these years of schooling coming to this momentous event,” Debbie Austin said after her son, Matt Austin, was given his diploma. “(But) it makes me a little sad, that our family life as we know it will never be the same.”
The final graduate’s name was read and given a diploma so quietly, almost no one but the students noticed that the ceremony was over.
“It feels like I’ve been working hard at something for a long time, not just these three years, but my whole life, and now it’s come to fruition, and now I’m gonna be doing something else,” said graduate Jack Davis. “It’s sort of scary, but it’s pretty cool. It’s sad, but it’s happy.”
Led by Moore, students moved their tassels from the right to the left side. Then — accompanied by the song “We are Young” by the musical group fun. — the graduates left high school and walked with their families into the uncertain darkness.
Members of the Davis High School Class of 2012 are:
Frederick Nicolas Acker, Elise Adams, Nathan Meyer Adams, Todd Boerger Albertson, Payam Alemi, Christine Alexander, Rita Ann Allen-Sutter, Benjamin Samuel Alpers, Surah Alsawaf, Jeffrey Anderson, Melissa Janine Arthur, Vivian Ngan Au, Hein Htet Aung, Matthew Robert Austin.
Mariam Rasem Bader, Jessica Jung Youn Baek, Eric Bai, Lauren Jade Bailey, Pratistha Bajracharya, Madison Ann Baker, Hagr Mohamed Balla, Emily Grace Bamforth, Alexandra Rose Barbaria, Patrick Harrison Saenz Barrientes, Scott Bavetta, Haley Yoshie Belenis, Miriam Kathleen Bell, Dajon Ike-Towne Beltran, Leah Francis Benci-Woodward, George James Bennett, Blake Taylor Bennick, Jeanne Marie Beveridge, Sophia Bezuglov, Colin Kamaehu Bigney, Elvis N. Bikoba, Lauren Blackwell, Julia Christine Blizard, Ian Henning Bloise, Forrest George Bockrath, Dallas Imani Bolden, Edward Eugene Booth, Lauren Anne Boulanger, Yuval Braeman, Keith Richard Brau, Chelsea Marissa Brent, Yannick Bretschneider, Haley K. Brown, Matthew Timothy Buckley, Christina K. Burns.
Pantelis Callaway, Haley N. Cameron, Kayla Campanelli, Jose Esteban Campos-Mejia, Luis Canjura, Harrison William Castanon-Mauvais, Lauren Tiana Rachael Chadderton, Alexander A Chakhovskoi, Angus Chang, Daniel Chang, Alexander Jacob Chapman, Marcus J Charles, Sarah Anne Chase, Bryan Yuyu Chen, Charlotte Chen, Ekaterina Aleksandrovna Chepeleva, Michael Warren Cheung, Richard Evan Chew, Eliot George Childress, John Sunwoo Chin, Eunghee Cho, Alexander Togashi Chong, Kathryn Clark, Kevin Lee Clayton, Shayne Clementi, Emma Sheridan Clouse, Claire Coleman, Logan Francis Condon, Alma Rosa Contreras, Isaac Benjamin Contreras, Brice Thomas Corcoran, David Coronado, Liam Cox, Andrew Croft, Jacob Robert Cross, Benjamin Crow.
Nikhil Dahal, Samuel Prescott DaMassa, Dominic Philip D’Angelo, Nicholas Huu Vinh Dao, Jessica Rose DaSilva, Madeleine Jenae Davies, John Davis, Austin James Day, John Ingersoll Della Rosa, Madison Nicole Delmendo, Scott James Derby, Nicole Desideri, Taylor Alyssa Difuntorum, Celine Mirelle Dill, Derek Dimond, Gary Alexander Djajapranata, Laila Socaina Doulaki, Francesca Peris Dudek, Alexander Duleba, Jacob Maxwell Dunaway, Gregory Edwin Dunn, Amelia Savannah Duplantier.
Benjamin Eckels, Yelda Hazel Eser, Maricella Espinosa-Blohm, Jonathan Eweis-Labolle, Kelsey Chase Ewing.
Ryley William Fairfield, Galan Falakfarsa, Clara Fannjiang, Chloe Farrell, Joshua Faubion, Marianna Felan, Frank Feng, Christopher Gino Ferragamo, Melissa Ferris, Margaux Anne Filet, Andrew R. Fleeman, Ian Thomas Fletcher, David C Flores, Matthew Stewart Forrest, Jaclyn Leigh Frantz, Mikayla Candace Fregoso, Alexander R Freund, Danielle Fujino, Naomi Furukawa.
Caroline Galbraith, Carlie J Gantar, Nomun Ganzorig, Amanda Gardner, Israel Garibay, Jessica Garza-Herrera, Reta Gasser, Hannah Alexandra Gendron, Thomas Gepts, Michael Gervais, Anna Maria Gilbertson, Caitlin Glassman, Kyra Skye Gmoser-Daskalakis, Christopher Antone Gnos, Federico Andres Godoy, Jennifer Ann Gold, Isaac Goldstein, Mario Arnoldo Gomez, Daniel Gonzalez, Laura Gonzalez, Kelly Goss, Matheus Gouvea, Britney Grafton, Dana Demaray Granger, Ryan Greenough, Hana Viola Griffin, Ryan Gross, Eric Guerzon, Max Guida, Natasha Gunasekara.
Melanie Rebecca Habib, Jasmine S Hakim-Elahi, Evan Taylor Hamaguchi, Emilia Nicole Hamilton, Sawyer Harris, George Shigeharu Hatamiya, Brennan Havens, Amanda Marie Hawley-Peters, Noah Daniel Henry, Bryan Hensley, Hanna Herrera, Arianna Heyer, Sasha Santer Hill, John Hiller, Tiffany Xing-Mei Ho, Alessandra Holder, Emily Faye Holmes, Jennifer Horn, Garrett Hosley, Nicholas Howell, Emma Katherine Hunter, Katherine Hunter.
Paris-Adan Jacob Jackson-Rodriguez, Joshua Jang, Nicholas G. Jenness, Anna Jiang, Courtney Ann Jimenez, Caroline Johnson, Rachel Catherine Johnson, Michael Johnson, Hanna Lee Jolkovsky, Leah Rose Julian.
Ekjot Kaur, Hayato Kawaguchi, Jordan Kelley, Erik Kennedy-McDonnell, Cathy Khoshabeh, Yasmin G Khouri, Naomi Kibrya, Emily McKinley Kiernan, Minuk Kim, Timothy Kim, Boyoung Kim, Allison Ann Kino, Mary Caitlin Seifert Kirkham, Vasilisa I. Kitson, Paul Janis Klavins, Anna Sally Klavins, Charlie G Klein, Emily Kathryn Knox, Katerina Anastasia Kokkas, Sarah Anicka Kolarik, Lian Kong, Adam Konrad, Patric Anthony Kreidler, Mika Andrea Kroencke, Corinna Kron, Hannah Krovetz, Elizabeth Kubey, Sarah Kate Kuivenhoven.
Autumn Fay Labourdette, Steven Labourdette, Linnea Lagerstrom, Cara Suzanne Lammers, Erika Lamontagne, Max Thomas Land, Garrett LaRue, Kate Elizabeth Latsch, Alejandro Carlos Lavernia, Rose Ann Leander, Erin Colleen Leary, Matthew Thomas Lee, Andrew Elam Lee, Moniqueka J Lee, LiYuan Lee, Lauren Lemseffer, Nassim Mohammed Lemseffer, Francisco Alfredo Leon-Gomez, David W Lester, Nathan Leung, Kwan In Leung, Lucas Wing Kwong Leung, Baihan Li, Callie Ann Lieding, Amanda Lilliedoll, David Lim, Peter Lin, Yen Yu Lin, Graham Fox Linley, Karene Liu, William Liu, Jonathan Liu, Feiyang Liu, Mikhail Logachev, Raymond Long, Monica Lopez, Monica Lopez-Islas, John Louie, Dominique Irene Lowell, Melissa Ashley Lowry, Alexander Douglas Loyd, Jessica Ann Ludden, Monique C. Lugo, Samantha Lung, Alina Lusebrink, Robert Forrest Lyon.
Xiao Ma, Kristian Mackewicz, Marcus Madison, Ali I Mahmoud, Jamie Zoe Malot Chantry, Kyle Gabriel Mananquil, Zanyar Mansoubi, Alexander H Marelich, Mikaela Olivia Martinez, Rodolfo Eusebio Martinez, Nadia Masarweh, Faith Mathis, Emily Cait May, Hannah Mazet, Michelle Elise McBeth, Tyler-James Wilson McCall, Taylor Frances McCart, Blake W. McDonald, Lucas Daniel McGrew Bayon, Timothy Todd McIntyre, Lauren Olivia McNece, Cara Louise Meadows-Smith, James Medel, Emmanuel Medina, Elizabeth Melara, Kenneth A. Melville, Logan Orion Millar, Caron Miller, Megan Alise Miller, Tarod Allan Miller, Jacia Mim, Cheyenne Minor, Christopher Miqueo, Owen James MkNelly, Madison Lee Molotky, Chiara Moore, Giavanna Moreno, Tre Moynihan, Olivia Muller, Christopher James Mulvihill, Tessa Murphy.
Kimia Nader-Tehrani, Kyle Nadler, Jay Kishore Nagin, Yasmeen Nahal, Ilanko A Nataraajan, Emily Elizabeth Neff, Kelsey Nelson, Corey Jerald Nelson, Michele Dang Ngo, Beverly L. Nguyen, Anna Katherine Nicholson, Stephen Nielsen, Thomas Nolan, Hudson Nunes.
Cynthia Ochoa, Nicholas Oka, Kinsey Louise O’Leary, Nicole Aili Olichney, Zoe Olson, Joel Orozco, Dillon Osleger, Corie Marie Owen, Daniel E. Padilla, Jose G. Padilla, Amy Wang Pan, Midushi Pandey, Ciara N Parenzin, Spencer Park, Sewoo Park, Jean Parrella, Danielle Marie Patterson, Jenny X. Peng, Brenna Marie Perlman, Stacey Ann Perron, Nicole Alison Persinger, Risa Lynn Pesavento, Emma Phillips, Paul Dungan Phillips, Amy Platenkamp, Matteo Poort, Zachary Kevin Powers, Cameron Shanendra Pratab, Allison Premzic, Nina Prieto, Felix Pu, Daniel Pugh.
Edward Lewis Radder-Buchanan III, Jordan Sanjay Ramalingam, Sriram Ramesh, Jose Ramirez, Jonathan Alfredo Ramirez, Jacob Ransdell, Zoe Raven, Russell Richardson, Robert Rico, Kovy Yun Rinzler, Gabriella Jenee Rivera, Laila Syed Rizvi, Alexis Diane Roberson, Kimberly Rozario Robertson, Joshua Thomas Robinson, Joseph Rodgers, Julia Rodman, Michael Anthony Romero, Cinthya Rosales-Flores, Aaron Chiuco Rosario, Simon Rothenberg, Brandon Salvador Rueda, David Ruff, Michael David Rumery, Arnell Rusanganwa.
Daniel Sabatier, Bryan Naratip Saicheur, Kyle Saltveit, Byron Lehi Sanchez, Savanah Sanchez, Noemi Sandoval, Ian Sanger, Anthony Joseph Sangervasi, Marc A. Santana, Chrysten Rynee Santos, Brynne Satre, Danielle B Schickele, Mara Seaton, Travis James Selph, Parker William Senders, Katie Shao, Kendra Shapiro, Maya Sharma, John French Shelledy, Jiajia Shi, Chloe Isabel Shorts, Astha Shrestha, Rubia Siddiqi, Anais Sidhu, Matti C Siltanen, Jakran Singh, Arjan Singh, Anne Slabach, Andrew Christopher Slizeski, Andrew Britton Smith, Spencer Snow, Luke Rafael Soler, Madison Marie Sommer, Sara K Sousa, Tyler A Sousa, Peter Spitzer, Lindsay Morgan Stebbins, Meghan Claire Steidler, Nathan Clay Stenson, Tia Imogene Stewart, Tayler Virginia Stone, Andrew Joseph Stoye, Tien-Hsuan Su, Anushriya Subedy, Ellen Suder, Huria Sultan, Nicholas Andrew Swaminathan.
Hailey Anna Tabarez, Jonathan J. Tai, Christine Jiyoung Tak, Aggie Tang, Jason Tang, Jane F. Tannous, Stephanie M. Teuber, Yunus Favian Tezcan, Samuel Cole Theg, Zachary Robert Thonen, Nathaniel Tiangco, Reinert Toft, Kaveh Toofan, Alexander Torrecampo, Bao Quoc Tran, Shelby Jane Traverso, Lindsey Trimmer, Allison Elizabeth True, Stephanie Trujillo, Fei Tso, Deniz Edison Tumer, Ashley Tupin, Jenice Tupolo, Asherah Tuss, Sedona Tuss.
Emily Maryse Uhrhammer-Morrow, Ryan Miles Uota, Bryce Colby Vaewsorn, Samuel van der List, Cassandra Vance, Jacob Vanderbilt, Jackson Dean Vanover, James Vargas, Paige Marie VavRosky, Beth Anne Noel Vidmar, Elizabeth Guadalupe Vidrio, Maria Villalon.
Danielle Nicole Walchli, Brittany Michelle Walchli, Katja Waldron, Puxiao Wang, Ran Wang, David En-Wei Wang, Lai-En Wann, Jacob Weiss, Dylan Patrick Wells, Madeleine Welsh, Hayden R. Wentz, Dylan Alexander West, Irene Whalen, Megan Thurn Whitworth, Heidi Wickham, Matthias Wilken, Megan Raelyn Williams, Tess Williams, Cho Cho Win, Megan Mckenzie Winton, Alexandra M. Wong, Sachi Dayle Wong, Chun Tat Derek Wong, Brett Worley, Hailey Jean Wright, Juliana Wynkoop.
Lin Yang, Xishan Ye, Daniel G. Yee, Michael Liang Yen, Phillip Yin, Jimmy Yo, Jack Yoder, Nichakarn Yordduangjun, Akilah Young, William Young, Anders Aurelio Tien Young.
Bianca Whitney Zalac, Alice Ling Zhang, Patrick Zhang, Jiajing Zhang.
To view and purchase graduation photos, visit www.davisenterprise.zenfolio.com.