The Atascadero High School Class of 2024 graduated on June 6

ATASCADERO — On the warm evening of Thursday, June 6, at 6 p.m., Atascadero High School’s (AHS) graduating Class of 2024 stormed Memorial Stadium in celebration. Two hundred and sixty-one students filled up the center of the football field as their family and friends filled the bleachers on both sides of the stadium to cheer on the students in their last step to leaving high school behind and heading out into the great big world of opportunity.

“Hello and welcome to the 103rd Commencement Ceremony for Atascadero High School,” stated Principal Nikki Baca at the start of the ceremony. “Please stand and help me welcome the graduating Class of 2024.” 

The graduates were accompanied by the Greyhound Band playing “Pomp and Circumstance” and were followed by the senior choir singing the national anthem. The United States Armed Forces also presented the colors at the graduation.


2024 Senior Class President Aurora Perry gave the opening speech.

“To our families, thank you for your endless patience and your unwavering support. To our teachers, coaches, and mentors, you didn’t just teach us. You inspired us. You challenged us to think differently, to question, and to dream. You have been committed to furthering our education since day one. Thank you to the AUSD dignitaries and our board of trustees for always putting in the work behind the scenes,” Perry said. “We have spent the last four years together side by side through sporting events, school activities, and in the classroom, watching each other grow into who we are today. I’m proud to stand before you as our class president, so here’s to us. Let’s go get our diplomas and become one degree hotter.” 

Superintendent Tom Butler then presented the Salutatorians, of which there were two this year, and the Valedictorian to the enthusiastic crowd.

“It is my honor to present to you the students who have achieved the highest GPAs for the class of 2024,” said Baca as the three students took to the stage.

This year’s Co-Salutatorians were Mia McKrell and Isabella Pecharich, with matching GPAs of 4.48. Margaret Uceda took the top spot as Valedictorian with a 4.5 GPA.

Commencement Speaker Sebastian Marano then took to the podium to deliver his speech. The entire address was sprinkled with references to fire and the Class of 2024 being a light throughout their years on campus and onward.

“My favorite interpretation of fire is one of limitless potential and change bringing light,” Marano said. “My friends, today, our school reveals itself to be a dazzling beacon, and as I stand here, not only am I literally blinded by the sun, I am blinded by a field of shining futures. Each and every one of you holding a burning flame of passion. How you have nurtured that flame these past four years, I may not know, but today, we gather to celebrate our accomplishments and prepare to share our light with the world.”

He also spoke about achievements throughout the school in drama, swimming, football, band, the wellness center, and so much more in their four years.

“We’ve let our true selves shine through and made AHS even brighter than it was before. Of course, we would not have made it this far without our teachers, our friends, and our family,” added Marano. “For all of those in attendance, I would be willing to wager that you played some role in the journey that led to these graduates to be baking in their caps and their gowns before me today. I would like to take this moment to thank you all for raising, supporting, teaching, and guiding the class of 2024.”

He also thanked Vice Principals Miss Williams, Mr. Shorba, and Mr. Spiller, who are leaving AHS and moving to new positions within AUSD.

“Now it is time to show the world just exactly what we are capable of. The world we inherit can be at times a dark one with age-old flaws and emerging imperfections, despite this, I enjoying upon you to continue ever forward with purpose and compassion to illuminate a better tomorrow,” he concluded.

The Senior Choir returned to the stage to perform a moving version of the equally moving “For Good” from the famous Broadway musical, “Wicked.”

The Presentation of the 2024 Class by Principal Baca was touching and filled with multiple references to Taylor Swift lyrics and praise for the AHS graduating students.

“Once a Greyhound, always a Greyhound. Class of 2024, your future ‘era’ is yours to create, with a blank space or a blank canvas. That begins today. Congratulations and long live,” were the last words Baca said in her speech.

All 261 graduates then lined up to receive their diplomas. The Board of Trustees was split along with the students on each side of the field to hand out the student’s futures.

“Principal Baca, Superintendant Butler, and members of the board of trustees, on behalf of the class of 2024, I accept the diplomas of graduation. Seniors, please rise. Move your tassels to the left. Graduates, please remain standing. Family and friends, I present to you the graduating class of 2024. Congratulations,” said Perry to end the ceremony.

Congratulations to the AHS Class of 2024. May your next steps be magical.

Featured Image: (left to right) School Board Trustee President Terri Switzer, Trustee Denise McGrew-Kane, Trustee Vy Pierce, School Board Treasurer Tracy Ellis-Weit, Commencement Speaker Sebastian Marano, Trustee Matt Pennon, AHS Principal Nikki Baca, Trustee Rebekah Koznek, and Superintendant Tom Butler are shown as Marano give his Commencement Speech. Photo by Rick Evans