By Patrick Dillon
FARMERSVILLE – When class speaker Armando Baldwin took to the podium to deliver the first speech of Farmersville High School’s Commencement Ceremony, it was not long until the crowd was hushed in silence. He spoke with such emotion, and his message, “Farmersville strives for excellence.”
“No person or system can put a label on us, branding us as anything less than a school who never accepts second best,” Baldwin said. “No one put more pressure on us than the pressures we put on ourselves.”
In four years at Farmersville the 172 graduates did raise the bar in many respects. The class achieved the highest CAASPP test scores in the history of the school. They had consecutive first place awards in CTE Competition. The class’s student athletes have even stepped up their competitions by venturing into larger cities to compete against larger schools and have performed well.
“As a class we have worked hard to make it to this day, and we have stayed humble,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin took a different approach from normal graduation speeches which talk about how nervous, or scared the students were. Instead his statement was one of confidence, and pride about starting their first day of high school. Yes, they learned their place among the hierarchy that is high school life, but that did not stop the class from learning how to help one another. Then by the time they were the top dogs on campus they looked back on their time at Farmersville and realized just how much they had grown.
Yet, as the class got ready to take their first steps on to the next stages of their lives, Baldwin had the same message. He and his classmates were not afraid, but resilient, tough, and will achieve their goals.
“We are ready for what life has to throw at us,” Baldwin said.
The Class of 2019’s commencement ceremony was the last one for current Principal Lisa Whitworth, and Superintendent Randy DeGraw. Whitworth will be principal at Hurley Elementary in Visalia this fall and DeGraw is retiring after 33 years in the distirct.
“Class of 2019 we thank you for four action packed years,” Whitworth said. “We know you are ready to soar, and to make the world a better place.”
Edgar Lomeli-Gonzalez was named the class’s Valedictorian. In four years, he had a 4.28 GPA.
The Class of 2019 will have 142 total graduates go on to continue their education. There will be 108 headed to community colleges, and 29 going to four-year universities in either the CU, CSU, or private.
A total of 48 students earned their degree as UC Merced Talent Search graduates.
Students wanting to enter the agriculture field continue to use the agriculture pathway at Farmersville. The Class of 2019 had 31 graduates complete the pathway. Two of those students earned their state degrees in FFA.