Friday, June 12, 2020, was Diploma Day for the 512 seniors graduating from Mira Mesa High School. From 9am to 2pm, a long line of cars, each bearing a graduating senior (in alphabetical order by last name) and usually one or more other happy members of the graduate’s immediate family, all appropriately masked, slowly drove in a one-way direction at the edge of the school adjacent to its parking lot facing Mira Mesa Boulevard. On their way, they passed a festively waving MMHS blue “balloon man,” a giant inflatable Marauder character, and a PA system playing “Pomp and Circumstance.”
There were two official stations for graduates to stop briefly, but not get out of their cars. At the first station, seniors were given their 2020 class mugs, bearing the names of all the class members, and other “goodies,” including coupons provided by local businesses. Senior Class of 2020 advisor Jennifer Kvalvik, counselor Debbie Blanchard, and longtime Sapphire Sound volunteer Maria Pankau were among those
staffing that station.
The second station, staffed by MMHS principal Jeff Sabins and others, was where the graduates were presented with their diplomas. At both stations, cheers were abundant each time a car passed by. “They have all made us proud in how they have handled what has turned out to be the most different senior year any student has had to encounter. With grace, creativity, disappointment but always with dignity they will prevail and change the world,” said Jennifer Kvalvik, MMHS faculty advisor for the Class of 2020.
“As advisor for this class since 2016 I have watched them grow into amazing young men and women. They have inspired me every step of the way and renewed my sense of humanity in the future that they hold in their hands.” Kvalvik said. The Mira Mesa Town Council, Mira Mesa’s non-profit volunteer civic group, also showed their pride and support for the MMHS Seniors by donating a banner in honor of the Class of 2020 Visionaries. The banner was strategically placed in front of the school visible to Mira Mesans as they travel down Mira Mesa Blvd. The banner was designed by a MMHS student.
The banner, attached to the fence in front of the 200 building, became a third stopping place, where many graduates detoured from the line to park in the lot briefly, and get their pictures taken in front of it by a parent – and/or by Mira Mesa Town Council past president Ted Brengel, a local photographer. The banner has become a draw as a backdrop for photos in following days, too. Mira Mesa High School principal Jeff Sabins decided to do something special himself to recognize the Class of 2020. None of those students knew when the school year started how strangely their senior year would end, with so many missed experiences due to quarantine during the pandemic.
“With a steady hand and a heavy heart, Jeff Sabins wrote every single senior name on a blank wall in the 200 building. With just a pen and a stool he wanted to commemorate each and every senior student that has missed many of their memorable events of their senior year,” Jennifer Kvalvik said.
“They are a very special class and I will forever be grateful for the special memories they have given me as their class advisor,” Kvalvik said.
The Class of 2020 Valedictorians are Denver Nguyen and Juliana Bacera, who each earned a GPA of 4.82; Salutatorian is Amogh Mellacheruvu, who earned a GPA of 4.78.
Jennifer Kvalvik also gave shout-outs to the Class of 2020 Class Council officers:
President: Cassandra Bui
Vice-president: Ava Joaquin
Secretary: Kwan Bender
Treasurer: Kathya Gutierrez
“The students on the Council carried on their shoulders many of the decisions that had to be made throughout the year. They could not have been more professional and dedicated to doing what was in the best interest of their fellow Marauders,” said Kvalvik.
Congratulations to the MMHS Class of 2020 Visionaries!