Support. Encouragement. Patience. Love. All the student speakers at the Independence event expressed deep gratitude to those who stood by them and pushed them to be their best and work hard for brighter futures. As students received their diplomas, they greeted their teachers with big hugs and thankful handshakes, sharing smiles and some tears of pride.
As student speaker Justin Hidalgo said it takes a village to raise a child, he noted that while family and friends play a large part in students’ lives, the staff at Independence also played a part in their successes.
“Here at Independence, we’re fortunate enough to have a wonderful, supportive staff who really cares for the student body,” Hidalgo said. “Take a look around you tonight and notice the rest of our village: friends, family and parents. They are here because they love us and they want us to achieve. Our future begins right now! Let’s make our village proud!”
Unlike traditional high school graduation ceremonies, Independence’s festivities include a group of student speakers who deliver speeches of gratitude. Katherine Walker, Amber Clements, Anthony Torres and Jacob Belarski each took a moment to offer best wishes to their fellow grads and personally thank teachers with whom they share their triumph.
For Clements, the opportunity to speak and publicly acknowledge the people who helped her get to graduation day brought tears to her eyes. She did her best to express without crying her appreciation for the love and guidance she received through her high school journey and thanked the staff for their positivity, patience and never-ending support.
While not all 193 graduates got a chance to speak, their enthusiastic reaction to the calling of their names showed they agreed with the student speakers’ upbeat message. Those in the audience clapped and cheered as they clutched bouquets of balloons and flowers to share with their graduates.
For the graduates, the ceremony felt like an eternity as they anxiously played with the emerald gowns waiting to take their turn on the stage. But the wait was worth it. Each graduate from the continuation high school fought hard to earn their degrees and shared a new sense of confidence as they prepared to move into the future.
Before the graduates could leave, Community Education Assistant Director Colleen Sanchez left them with one last bit of wisdom: sometimes opportunity knocks softly, so they must learn to listen carefully. For the Class of 2011, the message has been received loud and clear.
Congratulations to the Independence High Class of 2011: Morgan Elena Adams, Wajahat Raza Ahmad, Andrew James Alicea, Jared Andrade, Kayla Rae Armendariz, Olivia Graciela Arriaga, Brenda Avila, Brandon Allen Bailey, Mitchell Edward Baker, Jodie R. Barbin, Aliiokulia JohnRidge Barnes, McKenna Maria Barragan, Connor B. Barrett, Juan Fernando Barron, Rebecca Faye Beard, Jacob Anthony Belarski, Donald J. Bergenholtz, Jill Marie Boatright, Forrest T. Bradshaw, Cindi Briseno, Corey A. Brown, Keith J. Brown, Breanna A. Byrd, Shelby Alexandra Bullington, Jonathan Scott Bush, Ellie Marie Butler, Nicole Ashley Callison, Anthony M. Carlton, Dustin W. Carlton, Jacob Michael Casey, Audriana Shante Chapa, Lindsey Michelle Christian, Alyssa N. Christoph, Noelle Rae Cisneros, Kelli R. Clark, Amber Leigh Clements, Brett Michael Clemons, Trevor Ryan Conley, Cynthia Contreras, Vanessa Celeste Contreras, Christina Marie Corbitt, Kaeli Creson, Jeremy Robert Crow, Elizabeth Cruz , Davis A. Cruze, Jordan Brooke Cwik, Andrea Dawn Devine, Chelsey E. Dias-George, Claudia Diaz, Shane Robert Donnelly, Emily Dumford, Jacob Patrick Ellison, Samantha W. Elwood, Connor Jon Fink, Artisia D. Ford, Maria N. Fregoso, Timour Galliamov, Nigel Vonzell Gamble, Crystal Stacey Gan, Taylor Danielle Gauthier-Kobold, Shabnam Ghafar, Vincenzo Salvatore Gigli, Marcos Gil, Kayley Glenn, Aleksander Gleyzer, Michael Arthur Gonzales, Ana C. Gomez, Anna Marie Gordon, Samantha Ann Graham, Donovan C. Grant, Alejandro Gutierrez, Carlos Saul Guzman, Amber Louise Hagman, Jordan Alexander Hatch, Cameron James Haugen, Jasmine Hernandez, Marielena Hernandez, Justin Vincent Hidalgo, Jessica M. Holmes, Makayla Renee Holt, Connor W. Horsfield, Shafik A. Huffman-Hasbun, Daniel Huntley, Stevie Alyssa Jaramillo, Allison Nicole Johnson, Anna Renee Johnson, Erik R. Johnson, Lauren Nicole Jones, Ashley Rose Kevern, Dallas B. Laboy, Vanessa Landeros, JW Cody Leighton, Katlyn Dawn Lopez, Joshua Andrew Macias, Jessica Magana, James Craig Makela, Dillon S. Mangas, Brandon James Maquindang, Jordan Anthony Maquindang, Jessica Marquez, Karena Esperanza Martinez , Michael Matthews, Ricky Anthony May, Breanna Renee McArthur, Cheyenne Marie McCullough, Brandon L. Mendez, Tamara A. Mendez, Rosario Mendez, Gerald Mendoza, Crystal LeeAnn Meredith, Lisa Marie Miles, Kaydee J. Miller, Tori Christine Miller, Adonis Stephane Milon, Cambria Noel Mittelbusher, Camren D. Morain, Laura Victoria Morgan, Lincoln Calvin Morgan, Jacob S. Munoz, Ashley A. Myers, Elena Myers, Natalie Diane Navarro, Yarimar Torres Negron, Brigette Caitlan Nicklaw, Jasmine N. Norris, Morgan Lee Olivier, Andrew Scott Olson, Thalia G. Orduna, Andrea A. Orozco, Lydia F. Ortega, Emily A. Oxendine, Vincent Richard Oxsen, Cody Mitchell Paugh, Stephanie Peña, Ashley Robin Perales, Sinay A. Perez, Johnathan Perriera, Lindsay Michalea Petersen, Kendra Yvette Phelps, Lexis D’Anne Price, Lauren N. Prince, Kasie Jane Purcell, Rachel Racela, Carly Danielle Radetic, Joshua Ramirez, Colby Ramsey, Casondra Shellene Rayfield, Jesse Ray Reeves, Jarred Robert Rehme, Jack Reid, Anaka Shanece Rico, Anibal B. Rodriguez , Gersom Alexander Rodriguez, Mariah Nicole Rodriguez, Mario Rodriguez, Kale Roessler, German Ross, Victoria L. Samuel, Daniel R. Sanchez , Hallie Rose Santiago, Michael Andrew Santiago, Robin Leed Anna Saros, Destiny Scott, Nicky R. Sell, Tommy Serlis, Andrea Marie Shaw, Scarlet Stephanie Silva, Tyler Austin Simmons, Brianna J. Slagowski, Andrew K. Smith , David Michael Smith , Juan Jose Solis, Rodolfo Soto, Keyerra Shalon Szillat, Garrett Tamborski, Timothy Allen Thoene, Anthony Torres, Anisha Towers, Ronnie Valladares, Michaela Elizabeth Van Dyke, Monica E. Vasquez , Jesus Steven Velasco, Cody Lee Verrett, Brandie Marie Walker, Katherine Margaret Walker, Justin Kurt Wallace, Ricardo R. Walls, Sabrina Lee Weir, Lawrence E. Whitford, Tiffany G. Wiggs, Terrence P. Wise, Nicole Xaysana and Silas Howard Barr Ziglar.