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‘What a great day to be an Eagle!’ Estancia High grads take flight into the future

An Estancia High senior laughs before walking during her graduation ceremony at the Jim Scott Stadium.
An Estancia High senior laughs before walking during her graduation ceremony at the Jim Scott Stadium in Costa Mesa Thursday.
(Eric Licas)
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“What a great day to be an Eagle!”

Estancia High School Principal Michael Halt heartily welcomed 246 graduates gathered at Jim Scott Stadium on campus Thursday to honor one another and their shared connections one last time before taking flight into their respective futures.

Sharing highlights and achievements from this year’s class of 2024, Halt urged students sitting in long rows on the football field to consider the many people whose love, care and dedication helped them reach this momentous occasion.

Randy Harry offers a high five to Angel Torres during the Estancia High School graduation.
Randy Harry offers a high five to Angel Torres during the Estancia High School graduation ceremony in Costa Mesa Thursday.
(Eric Licas)

It was a time for fond farewells not only among seniors in the Class of 2024, but for longtime English teacher Marian Dickey, retiring after nearly 34 years with Newport-Mesa Unified School District. She likened her journey to a sort of graduation.

“Just like you, I’m saying, ‘See you later!’ to many friends, colleagues and students alike. And just like you, I’m jumping into a new chapter for which I will chart my own journey,” she said. “The pride I feel today is something I want you to experience more in your life. Congratulations to everyone here, and see you later!”

Senior Mailee Blanchard led a crowd of 1,000 people in the Pledge of Allegiance, while student speaker Heidi Nunez encouraged classmates to dream without bounds, work hard and enjoy life along the way.

Estancia Spanish teacher Mayra Figueroa helps senior Mateo Evans make last minute adjustments at his commencement Thursday.
Estancia Spanish teacher Mayra Figueroa helps senior Mateo Evans make last minute adjustments before walking during his commencement ceremony on Thursday.
(Eric Licas)

Fellow speaker Marco Scott urged graduates to not shrink away from opportunities to seize greatness. Peter Sanchez had the honor of leading his fellow Eagles in turning their mortar board tassels from the right to left, acknowledging that they had officially received their diplomas.

“No matter where life takes us, we’ll always treasure this moment,” Sanchez said. “Our Estancia memories will always keep us close and remind us of the happiness, friendships and endless opportunities waiting for us.”

Estancia seniors Christopher Casillas Gutierrez, from left, Marco Scott, Heidi Nunez and Mailee Blancard.
Estancia High seniors Christopher Casillas Gutierrez, from left, Marco Scott, Heidi Nunez and Mailee Blancard hold up medals of academic achievement at the school’s graduation in Costa Mesa Thursday.
(Eric Licas)
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