And that’s the message all of its students celebrated Saturday, as diplomas were handed out to its second set of graduates — the Class of 2017.Speeches emphasized the importance of a close-knit family, recognized the unique learning settings and its unique learners, reminded everyone that it was “the first day of the rest of our lives” and encouraged everyone to “Just Do It.”“We’re such a close-knit class,” speaker at large Ricky Malvarose told his classmates during the ceremony. “I didn’t understand that wasn’t the norm. I didn’t understand until now that I’m probably never going to have this feeling again — that feeling of being able to understand each and every single one of my classmates at a very human level.”Master of ceremonies Ryan James rattled recalled some favorite memories he had with his students and thanked them for creating “the expression of war through art, making a garden, making art out of trash, persevering and demanding that dam inspections be done even before Lake Oroville spilled over.”“Thank you for listening to your teachers and never selling candy on campus,” James said, which was met with cheers and hollers.“I know the whole staff is so proud of you. Thank you.”Valedictorian Megan Garcia reminded her classmates that although the family will be splitting up and saying goodbye, “We need to embrace this change and set our sights on the new adventures that await us on the other side of that diploma.”“Some of us aren’t ready to say goodbye and would call this a problem, but as the great and wise Captain Jack Sparrow said, ‘The problem isn’t the problem; the problem is your attitude about the problem,’” she said. “And that’s true. We can look at this day as a sad departure or look at this day as a happy recap. Personally, I’d prefer the happy recap.”Associated Student Body President KC Harris used his favorite viral video to analogize the future for his fellow graduates: Shia LaBeouf’s 2015 “Just Do It” video.“Do it! Just do it. Don’t let your dreams be dreams. Yesterday you said tomorrow, so just do it,” Harris enunciated, much to everyone’s amusement. “Yes you can! If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up!”As hilarious as he found the video, Harris reminded his classmates of the importance of LaBeouf’s message.“Whatever it is that you want to do, I don’t care what it is — what I care is that you start now,” he said. “I challenge you to just do it and make your dreams come true.”Salutatorian Cali Singleton recalled her most embarrassing yet an important experience and life lesson she learned as a freshman at New Tech — when she fell down the stairs in a desperate attempt to catch up to her friends.“I was mortified,” she laughed. “I had tears in my eyes, was scraped up and bruised. I was labeled as that girl who fell down the stairs.“When I went to my mom, she tells me, ‘At least you got what you wanted.’ She reminded me of this goal I created for myself: Leave an impression, you won’t be forgotten.“Take a risk, jump those stairs, fall, scrape your face and most importantly, leave an impression. Make your mark on the world, Class of 2017. Go get ’em.”Principal Christian Holst rounded out the commencement by reminding the students to continue leaving their mark around the world, and exemplify the true meaning of 21st-century learning.“The best learning is active, not passive,” Holst said. “While you graduate, learning never stops. You are all beautiful people — it’s now time to be beautiful somewhere else.”

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