Seniors ponder future as Whitney sends off third class

By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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For some, graduation is the end of an academic career or a springboard to the next level away from home.
For others it is a cautionary moment, the calm before the storm of youth where the challenges of a 20-something begins. For the third-graduating class of Whitney High School, last week students said the real work is ahead. One of eight valedictorians, Keaton Boyle, said even with his scholarships and huge family support, he’s afraid of the next step.
“I’m getting there. College will move me a little closer,” Boyle said.
Boyle got scholarships to study engineering at UCLA but admits he doesn’t have everything figured out.
“I’m intimidated,” Boyle said. “I am afraid of hitting the wall at UCLA Engineering.”
For 17-year-old Angie Castro, she’s proud to be one of the first on her dad’s side of the family to graduate from high school.
“It was because of the environment they were in and the choices they made,” Castro said.
She’s going to Sierra College with the ultimate goal of becoming a pediatrician. She credits her AVID college prep teacher Kimm Dekker who kept her focused and got her through some tough years.
“Without her I wouldn’t have gotten this far,” Castro said. “When I felt stressed out she was there.”
Dekker said her main instruction was getting the kids to concentrate on follow-through and be responsible. That will be especially important now that they’ve graduated.
“I tell them all the time I won’t be there to encourage them,” Dekker said. “I worked with them on being responsible. Don’t ever give up.”
For others, like Whitney theater students Leigh Leonard and Amy Burns, graduation was about fun and creating a memory. They’ve been singing the national anthem together as a duet since they were freshmen.
“We are working on some harmony variations,” Leonard said. “This is our last opportunity to sing it together.”
The duo belted out the national song at the graduation for the last time together.
“It’s time to graduate and it’s so exciting,” Burns said.
Leonard, after Sierra College, is returning to Whitney High to teach music and the choir so she can make a difference on the next graduating class.
“It’s been a great time, I love this place,” Leonard said.

For more photos: Whitney High celebrates grads