A total of 56 banners, like these pictured, were hung on downtown light poles May 29 to honor students graduating from Morgan Hill's high schools in 2020.

More than 600 Morgan Hill Unified School District seniors are set to graduate from three high schools this week, entering adulthood during a pandemic that cut their school year short and will likely be seen as their generation’s defining challenge.

Their teachers, principals and district administrators are confident the graduating teens can meet the tasks ahead and leave an encouraging mark on the world.

“The Class of 2020 has faced a challenging year. They now have the opportunity to take their experiences of graduating during a pandemic to fuel their future successes,” MHUSD Superintendent Steve Betando said. “This class will take what they have learned about the value of the human connection to make the world a better place. I am confident they will do just that.”

Live Oak, Sobrato and Central high schools will conduct online graduation ceremonies this week. A live, in-person car parade has been scheduled to snake through Morgan Hill on Saturday morning, giving students and their families a chance to experience a more tangible celebration.

Live Oak High School will graduate 252 seniors this week. The school’s valedictorians are Emma Squires and Lucas Nguyen. Salutatorians are Jacob Paulson and Gillian McCaw.

Emma Squires

Live Oak Principal Tanya Calabretta said she won’t forget the class of 2020.

“The class of 2020 will forever hold a special place in my heart,” Calabretta said. “I started my Live Oak Career with them as ninth-graders and am beyond grateful that they let me take this journey beside them. I know, from what they have endured, they will continue to persevere and amaze us in the future.”

At Sobrato High School, 320 seniors will receive their diplomas this week. The class valedictorian is Dean Tran, who was also named a U.S. Presidential Scholar in May. Sobrato’s graduating salutatorians are Josef Mosher and Kenneth Bui. 

Lucas Nguyen

Sobrato Principal Courtney Macko said, “I am so proud of this class and am excited to have the opportunity to celebrate them, even in an untraditional way. I am especially grateful to the entire community for wrapping their arms around this graduating class through decorations around town, video messages, newspaper tributes and showering individual graduates in their neighborhoods with love and support.” 

And at Central High School, the district’s continuation school, 54 students will graduate this week. Instead of a valedictorian, the school each year presents a Student of the Year. The class of 2020 honoree for Student of the Year is David Miller.

Dean Tran

Central High Principal Lisa Martin said the Student of the Year is one who “has emerged from the most adverse of conditions but who was able to refocus and take the first steps out of his past to write his future.”

Miller said, “I’d given up on the majority of my dreams, only to expect a life of nothing more than strife and sorrow. That attitude wasn’t going to get me anywhere, so I had to let go of that too. It was like I was experiencing my own metamorphosis, and I was getting ready to spread my wings. It took incredible effort to get out of that mindset, and even more to yank myself away from that which held me back, but I believe I made it through.”

Graduating from the district’s Community Adult School, in a June 10 online ceremony, are 26 adult students.

David Miller

Adult school principal Shannon Lane said of this year’s graduating class, “While adult education is not the typical path that a student anticipates, the class of 202o has persevered through all that life has thrown their way.  The staff at MH Community Adult School are proud of the graduates in the class of 2020 for continuing to move forward and reach their educational goals.”

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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