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Class of 2009 headed into the future

By: Gloria Beverage
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Placer Union High School District Superintendent Bart O’Brien sounds like a proud father when he talks of Colfax High School’s Class of 2009.
“This is a wonderful senior class this year,” he said. “We have some great students who are very dependable, interesting and involved in community service and helping other people. It’s also an ambitious group with students going to Cal, UCLA, San Diego and Santa Barbara.”
O’Brien added that two seniors — Elizabeth Metelak and Claire McCammon — have been named National Merit scholars.
The Class of 2009 not only attained high SAT scores, but also had a high participation rate, he continued.
“And then we have the drama and music productions,” O’Brien said.
So, it is apropos the Colfax resident makes an official appearance as the district superintendent at Saturday’s ceremonies.
The Colfax High School graduate, who later became a teacher at his alma mater before moving to the district office, retires this month.
“It’s hard to believe,” he said. “It’s been 40 years since I graduated. It doesn’t seem like it has taken that long to get here. It’s been an amazingly rewarding career.”
During his tenure as superintendent, O’Brien said he oversaw improvements to the campus, including the new quad and the all-weather track.
Although residents are experiencing difficult times financially, O’Brien recognizes that families in the community “value the things that we have valued for decades.”
While longtime residents like the Noxons and Marsons supported the high school program – both financially and physically — in years past, the community support remains as strong as ever..
“The names may be different today, but their goals are the same,” he continued. “It’s to provide opportunities for kids to be successful after high school.”
And the 217 students graduating on Saturday are well on their way to finding that success.
“They earned over $1 million in scholarships this year. It’s the most we’ve ever had,” reported Kristan Nave, administrative assistant to Principal Rick Spears.
The official announcement of valedictorians will be made on Friday when the students’ final grades are tallied, she added.
However, the students most likely to be named valedictorians, she noted, are Brett M. Care, Douglas J. Davies, Sarah C. Edwards, Heidi E. Graves, Angela M. Ignoffo, Claire E. McCammon, Elizabeth Metelak and Hannah B. Ostertag.
On Saturday evening, the students will mark their rite of passage with a Grad Night celebration at Sierra Vista Community Center.
The Sober Grad party will be chaperoned by parents with support from local California Highway Patrol officers.
“We will check their stuff when they arrive and make sure they’re not under the influence,” said Mike Pugh, spokesman for the CHP Gold Run office. “After that, we will keep them busy all night long.”
Colfax can be proud of its youth – present and past, O’Brien concluded. “Our graduates are all over doing all kinds of neat things.”

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Colfax High Graduation
When: 10 a.m. Saturday
Where:  Robert O. Marson Field, Colfax High School. 24995 Ben Taylor Road