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Pajaro Middle School students moving on to high school after levee breach floods campus

WATSONVILLE CA. - Today was a joyous moment for the eighth graders of Pajaro Middle School. They’ve reached this milestone despite so much hardship earlier this year. 

Months after their community was flooded, the eighth-grade class of Pajaro Middle School celebrated their graduation. Students walked across the stage and received their diplomas. The school’s principal, Juan Alcantar, said this celebration and accomplishment is extra special this year and with this class. 

“I think that the word for that chose for the promotion is resilient,” Alcantar said. “We were you know, we got flooded back in March 10. And then those that Saturday night and by like Wednesday the next week we were brand new school site.”

Principal Alcantar is extra proud of the class of 2023 for all they had endured with the flooding of the middle school earlier this year. 

“For all the effort it took for them to, you know, to get back to school because if they could have easily not come back to school,”  Alcantar said. “but they just had to come to school because it's important because there's a good, you know, support staff. They're the teachers, that's the community and then that's the family that we are here at Pajaro Middle School.”

Parents of the graduating class, like Lucia Castillas, are also impressed with how resilient their kids have been in middle school with all the challenges of COVID and now the flooded Pajaro Middle School. 

“She's been through some struggles,” Castillas said. “And to have the help of her teachers and the school and the office staff. That group they help the kids and they help my child. So I'm very very proud.” 

Although the students have gone through a lot, just like Brianna Vanegas, she was just happy to be together to celebrate their accomplishments. 

“I’m pretty proud of them because all of that we've gone through,” Vanegas said. “ It just bringing us closer together and we feel like we just feel like a close group and we're succeeding together. And ultimately, we're all we're hoping to stay together, all of us. So, we're all trying to succeed together” 

Principal Alcantar also told KION that around 150 students walked across the stage on Friday to receive their diplomas at Watsonville High School. 

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Lindsey Selzer


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