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Overcoming obstacles posed by life, pandemic Back Bay/Monte Vista grads set sights on future

Victoria Ashley celebrates at the Back Bay/Monte Vista High School commencement ceremony on Thursday, June 10, 2021.
Victoria Ashley celebrates at the Back Bay/Monte Vista High School commencement ceremony at the Hyatt Regency in Newport Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Under sunny skies Thursday, 87 graduates from Back Bay/Monte Vista High School’s class of 2021 celebrated accomplishments achieved during a school year that, thanks to the pandemic, will not soon be forgotten.

Rows of visitors convened in an outdoor amphitheater at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach, snapping photos as grads passed by in red caps and gowns.

Remarks were delivered by emcee and teacher Tracy Camareno, principal Mike Wagner, graduate Maddiline McNamer and Newport-Mesa Unified School District President Karen Yelsey.

Family and friends attend the class of 2021 Back Bay/Monte Vista High School graduation ceremony on Thursday, June 10, 2021.
Family and friends attend the class of 2021 Back Bay/Monte Vista High School commencement ceremony at the Hyatt Regency in Newport Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Wagner said afterward the in-person ceremony was a special moment, not only for grads but for the staff and faculty who helped get them to this milestone.

“Today is the whole reason that we go to school throughout the year and work hard,” he said. “It is to get to this moment, and to recognize students that truly needed a second chance and that they took advantage of it.”

Monte Vista graduate Holly Edwards, who will attend Orange Coast College and hopes to become a middle school teacher, credited faculty with helping her get back on track.

“[This] a really good school for people that need to catch up on credits,” she said, “because the teachers there really care about you more than any other high school I’ve seen.”

Students stop for a photo Thursday, June 10, 2021, at the Back Bay/Monte Vista High School commencement in Newport Beach.
Students stop for a photo Thursday, June 10, 2021, at the Back Bay/Monte Vista High School commencement, at the Hyatt Regency in Newport Beach.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

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