Olympic Gold Medalist to send off ‘incredibly resilient’ graduates after they weathered disasters

An Olympic Gold Medalist is speaking at a graduation ceremony for students who overcame many challenges.

Online PR News – 29-May-2021 – Carpinteria, California – CARPINTERIA, Calif. — Wildfires, mudslides and a global pandemic couldn’t stand in the way of the 2021 graduating class at Carpinteria High School accomplishing their goals.

To help recognize them, Dain Blanton, an Olympic Gold Medalist and head coach of the 2021 NCAA championship-winning beach volleyball team at University of Southern California, will be speaking at the commencement ceremony June 10. This will be the first commencement speaker they’ve ever done, principal Gerardo Cornejo said.

Graduating seniors at Carpinteria High School lived through the devastating Thomas Fire in December 2017 during their freshman year, which closed the campus and was the largest wildfire in California history at the time. Days later, the Montecito mud and rock slides in January 2018 killed 23 people in their community—once again closing campus and taking an emotional toll on students. And in 2020 during their junior year, their high school experience was once again disrupted as the COVID-19 pandemic forced remote learning through their senior year.

“Every single one of these students has a personal connection to these events,” Cornejo said. “They’re incredibly resilient. They are living up to what it means to be a [Carpinteria] Warrior.”

The school will be holding a commencement ceremony in person this year to celebrate the students’ achievements despite the challenges they experienced in the last four years. Blanton will be the first commencement speaker at Carpinteria High School, Cornejo said, and is already special to all the students.

There’s no one better than Blanton to launch these students into the next phase of their lives because of the impact he’s had on these students. In addition to being head coach of the USC beach volleyball team and an Olympian, Blanton is a spokesperson for Get Focused...Stay Focused!®, a nonprofit that helps students create meaningful 10-year life and career plans. As part of this program at Carpinteria High School, Blanton mentored the students starting in their freshman year on a variety of life and career planning topics through online videos. His helpful and inspiring advice has been a mainstay of many high schools across the country for the last decade.

“All these students know who he is from all the modules and classes with his videos,” Cornejo said. “It will be good for them to recognize a familiar face at the ceremony.”

After conquering so many challenges in their high school careers, Cornejo said he wanted this commencement ceremony to feel special for all the students.

“They were able to overcome so many challenges and were still able to achieve success,” he said.

About Dain Blanton

Dain Blanton was the United States’ first two-time male beach volleyball Olympian. He and partner Eric Fonoimoana captured the gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Games despite being the ninth seed.

Earlier, Blanton made a name for himself in the world of beach volleyball when he became the first African American to win a major beach volleyball title when he won the Hermosa Beach Grand Slam in 1997.

Since becoming an Olympic Gold Medalist, Blanton has had a distinguished career as a sports broadcaster, covering sports for networks including ESPN, NBC, ABC, FOX Sports Net and more. He covered beach volleyball for NBC at the 2016 Olympics and is slated to be a commentator at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.

In 2021, Blanton led the USC women’s beach volleyball team to win the NCAA national championship.

Blanton has spent time mentoring students and as a motivational speaker in schools like Carpinteria High School. As a spokesperson for Get Focused...Stay Focused!®, Blanton guides students in schools around the nation through a life- and career-planning process with a series of inspiring videos.

About Carpinteria High School’s Commencement Ceremony

Carpinteria High School will hold an in-person graduation at 6 p.m. June 10 at Carpinteria Valley Memorial Stadium on the campus at 4810 Foothill Road.

Attendance is limited due to COVID-19 precautions. Members of the media who are interested in attending should contact the school office at 805-684-4107.

About Get Focused...Stay Focused!®

Watch this video to learn more about the impact of the Get Focused...Stay Focused!® program on schools with Dain Blanton: http://www.academicinnovations.com/videos/vimeo/320513735

Learn more at http://www.getfocusedstayfocused.org