Ojai’s continuation school commencement held Wednesday
By Amber Lennon
The 2010 graduating class of Chaparral High School gave a resounding cheer when principal Marilyn Smith announced their completion of high school at Wednesday’s graduation ceremony. Chaparral caters to students who thrive in a non-conventional school format and offers a second chance to students with compromised situations that might have otherwise prevented their graduation.
Matt Wagner, who received the Chaparral Roadrunner Award for Outstanding Senior, says he didn’t value his education until the staff at Chaparral started believing in his success. Once this belief was instilled, Wagner’s determination was unstoppable.
Says Wagner, “At a time when other people were kind of lounging, I pushed through and exceeded the level of work that was going on.” In addition to his school studies, Wagner also works at Vons market and was noted in the “Thumbs Up” section of the OVN for reportedly returning a lost wallet to a customer.
Carole Paddock, Wagner’s English teacher and Chaparral’s activities director, describes the senior as “a kind student who enjoyed helping his fellow students.” Paddock states that at the end of the school year, he rallied his classmates to thank the staff of Chaparral for their help and belief in the students.
Wagner grew up in Las Vegas, a city teeming with teenage temptations, and moved to Ojai three years ago where he began attending Chaparral. “Over the next few years I saw someone turn into a motivated young man who wanted to do something with his life and is!” says Paddock.
Wagner says his plans to pursue a career in journalism began with an interest and aptitude for English and writing, plus he “didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk all day.” He has already completed his first semester at Ventura College and intends to look into opportunities at the Ventura County Star and the Ojai Valley News.
When asked about his near future plans, Wagner simply replied, “Onward and upward! Whatever pushes me toward my goals, and I will achieve those goals.”