Auburn’s Placer High graduates Class of 2018

By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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The stands of Placer High School’s LeFebvre Stadium were packed with well-wishers as “Pomp and Circumstance” ushered the long line of green-gowned grads to their seats at precisely 9 a.m. today. The expectant buzz of the an estimated 2,000 onlookers quieted as eyes turned toward the procession. Soon there was whistling and waving as people in the stands made contact with the grads they had come to see and send off into a future after high school.   



297 graduate diplomas were presented.



Included Principal Steve Caminiti, Senior Class President Stephanie Knoble and Student Body President Ian Crone.



Caminiti advised grads to stay focused, continually realign priorities and choose their own path. Knoble reminded the class of the 2014 lockdown of the school following the shooting death of Placer County sheriff’s detective Mike Davis Jr. and the more recent visit of a bear onto the campus. Crone also mentioned the six-hour lockdown during the Class of 2018’s freshman year. His father died in March. Crone thanked the people around him for reaching out during that time - and then led the class and audience in a spirited verse and chorus of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.”



Anything warm. The usual torrid temperatures of late May graduation ceremonies past were replaced by gray skies and a temperature at diploma time of 53 degrees. Jeans, leggings and coats were prevalent. At least one down jacket was even spotted in the crowd.   



Was a punctual Brett Ridge, who hadn’t missed a day of school from kindergarten on - and wasn’t about to mess up that perfect attendance record on graduation day. That meant being pressed, dressed and ready for every school day at Auburn Elementary, E.V. Cain and Placer High. That’s about 2,300 days of school without a miss for the 18-year-old son of Auburn’s Kathleen and Glenn Ridge.



Two prime parking spots and eight reserved seats at the side of the Stacy Dragila Track, with an unhindered view of the proceedings, were the raffle prize Teresa Yamzon learned only the night before that she had won in a grad night drawing. Her son, Lucas, was among the graduates. “I was thinking we would have to reserved seats at 6 a.m. (when the stadium doors are opened to allow people to put down blankets or chairs) but then I got the phone call,” Yamzon said.    



Placer grad Gavin Gollnick’s family perched above the proceedings and lined a chain-link fence with signs and life-size photos. For sheer lung-power, the Gollnick clan from Meadow Vista hit some high decibels as they greeted Gavin’s entry. And why not? “He’s the last one to graduate from high school out of four,” mom Summer Gollnick said.



Placer High’s grads with the highest grade point averages also addressed the crowd as valedictorians and were the first to march into the stadium. Kelli Allen, Mallory Cutter, Morgan Decker, Mark Griffitts, Brenn Haydon, Tristan Hegseth, Elana Muzzy and Troy Sheldon wer the Class of 2018 valedictorians..