Natomas Graduations Held at Sutter Health Park

NP3 High School seniors celebrate graduation in person at Sutter Health Park. / Courtesy Photo

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After more than a year of online learning, Natomas high school seniors graduated this month with in-person ceremonies held at Sutter Health Park.

“I am excited that we are able to give them this opportunity.” Natomas Unified School District superintendent Chris Evans said. “It doesn’t make up for everything else they missed, but it is a nice way to end the year for the most resilient group of students I have seen in my 30 years.”

Sutter Health Park, originally Raley Field, is home of the Sacramento River Cats minor league baseball team. The West Sacramento venue also hosts concerts, community celebrations, festivals, and private events.

Seating was limited and physical distancing measures in place for in-person graduations held at the baseball stadium. Park officials coordinated ticketing and seating for all Natomas schools.

In-person graduation events kicked off with the Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep High School graduation held on June 3.

NP3 High graduated Rory Marco at Sutter Health Park. / Courtesy Photo

NP3 High principal Melissa Mori said the school was thrilled to celebrate the Class of 2021 at an in-person graduation.

“After a trying year where we were unable to partake in many of the activities and events so many associate with their senior year of high school, we are all ready to end this school year on a high note,” said Mori, adding that having the school’s entire senior class together for the first time in over a year was both “exciting and memorable.”

Parents Glen and Kristin Marco said their daughter’s in-person graduation from NP3 High School was a highly anticipated event.

“Seeing our daughter and her friends receive their diplomas, you could feel the energy throughout the stadium,” Kristin Marco said. “It was a pivotal moment in bringing our community together to celebrate the success of our seniors.”

Both Natomas Charter schools celebrated its 8th graders and 12th graders with graduation ceremonies on June 7 held at the baseball stadium.

“Our entire community has had a challenging school year and we are extremely fortunate to be able to send off our 8th and 12th graders with in-person events,” Natomas Charter executive director Joe Wood said. “We could not have done this without the support of our families, staff, and board of directors. This may even be the start of a new tradition for NCS.”

Joe Julio, parent of a Natomas Charter School senior, lauded the River Cats organization for accommodating Natomas Charter School as well as other high schools in the region.

“After assuming for most of the year we wouldn’t have a traditional in person graduation, it was fantastic to see our kids cross the stage in front of friends and family to receive their diplomas,” Julio said. “And one thing is for certain, graduating at a minor league baseball park will be a unique memory for the Class of 2021 that they will never forget.”

Graduation for Discovery High School seniors was held on June 8, for Leroy Greene Academy and Natomas High School seniors on June 9 and on June 10 for Inderkum High School — in two separate sessions due to the size of the graduating class.

Graduating Inderkum senior Summer Santich said having the opportunity to interact and see fellow classmates, friends and teachers for the first time in well over a year was an unforgettable experience.

“It was easy this past year to get distracted by politics and the news regarding Covid, but having a graduation offered a sense of ‘congratulations on completing this normal sequence of American life’ during a not so normal time; while also having the opportunity to reflect upon what we went through this past year,” Santich explained. “…having an in person graduation meant that as a community we’ve continued to grow and find ways to support each other even if it’s through a Zoom calls or driving by someone’s house having a conversation through a car window. So having a graduation in person meant that all of the troubles that we’ve gone through in the past year weren’t for nothing.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Natomas-area schools held virtual or drive-thru graduation ceremonies for seniors in 2020.

NP3 High School held its in-person graduation ceremony at Sutter Health Park on June 3. / Courtesy Photo

Family members wait for commencement to start for Natomas Charter School seniors on June 7 . / Courtesy Photo

NP3 High School seniors celebrate graduation in person at Sutter Health Park. / Courtesy Photo

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