New Tech graduates launch into a wider world

June 7, 2017
Napa Valley Register

New Technology High School on Wednesday sent 88 graduates out into the wider world.

They donned purple gowns before the evening ceremony at Memorial Stadium under cloudy skies. Then they prepared to bask in cheers and receive diplomas that signify not only academic achievements, but a step into adulthood.

New Technology bills itself as a high school with a difference, one that is more like a workplace or college than the typical high school.

Samantha Paniagua found a home there.

“I will remember the culture, how welcoming and open-minded it is,” Paniagua said. “Our motto is trust, respect and responsibility.”

And did New Technology High School live up to its motto?

“Each and every day,” said Paniagua, who will next attend Napa Valley College to study early childhood development.

Sarah Maffei will also attend Napa Valley College and plans to ultimately transfer to UC Davis to pursue a major in biological science. She, too, leaves with good memories of New Technology High School.

Her work included volunteering at a senior home. New Technology also required her to take classes at Napa Valley College, and she already has 20 units.

“I think a lot of things that happened during my high school experience put me into the adult world, and I’m prepared,” she said.

Nabor Camarena will attend Baylor University to study pre-dentistry. He said he feels prepared to step into adulthood and an academic career that will mean leaving Napa.

“I feel like it’s a big change,” Camarena said. “I’m not 100 percent sure what to expect. However, I’m very excited.”

Change has become a constant in the modern, high-tech world. Principal Riley Johnson said the graduates have experienced it – three principals in four years, a new daily schedule, and a revamped school portfolio that they must keep.

“Sometimes change does one of two things,” Johnson said. “It can either paralyze you, so you kind of get stuck in your tracks. Or it can liberate you and launch you into what’s next.”

On Wednesday, smiling graduates looked ready for lift-off into life beyond high school.