SELMA — The crowd was roaring with cheers as fireworks blasted off to commemorate the senior class of 2018 at the conclusion of the Selma High School graduation on June 7.
Both sides of Staley Stadium were packed with family and friends of the graduates. Tons of others were in attendance in the overflow section, which was located behind the fence in the south side of the stadium that separated the attendees from the field.
The ceremony also served as the final graduation that retiring principal Mark Babriarz participated in. Graduates were also allowed to decorate their mortar caps this year, according to activities director Toni Lambert.
Like most graduations, the theme of the night was about reflection and looking to the future, which were things Raj Bains spoke about in his valedictorian speech.
“I talk about what success means and what people need to do to just push themselves in the future and make sure they can accomplish their dreams,” Bains said. “If they really try and put their head into it, they could really do it.”
Bains, who played basketball and tennis for the Bears, said he’s going to attend UCLA, but will solely focus on his academics in college. He’s going to major in biology to pursue a career as a doctor.
The 2018 class president Angelica Morfin also talked about reflecting on the past four years at Selma High School and even referenced lyrics from a song by hip-hop artist Drake at the end of her speech.
“The memories, the dress code, the simple stuff that makes everybody laugh,” Morfin said on the theme of her speech, “but we’re going to remember that, looking back and think while we were a Bear.”
Morfin, a former tennis and softball player at Selma, said she’s currently undecided in her major, but will attend Reedley College and transfer to a four-year university.
“Go Tigers,” Morfin said.
Another graduate who spoke at the ceremony was Gladis Lopez, who survived leukemia twice and probably had the most inspiring speech of the night.
“The last thing Gladis Lopez has to say to the class of 2018 is no one can stop you from achieving your dreams because not even cancer could stop me from achieving mine,” Lopez said. “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”
During her speech, Lopez talked about her two diagnoses of leukemia, the first one occurring in sixth grade and the second time at the beginning of her senior year.
When she was diagnosed the second time, she needed a bone marrow transplant. Luckily, Lopez’s 3-year-old brother Kevin was a perfect match.
Lopez talked about her love for brother in the speech.
“Kevin is my superhero,” Lopez said. “He will always be my superhero.”