MONTE VISTA — Get ready, world, because the Monte Vista High School Class of 2021 is coming for you.
The 62 Monte Vista High School graduates, all wearing face masks, for the Class of 2021 crossed the stage at Harvey Sullivan Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon, May 15, in front of friends, family and loved ones, cheering from the bleachers.
“We are free now,” said Omar Aguilera. “The world is ours and we have the power to change it, our parties tonight may even shift its axis a little, you have been warned! Go, Pirates!”
Senior Class President Caleb Riggenbach delivered the first of the class speeches.
“How am I supposed to summarize four long and confusing years of our lives in a short 700 words,” he said. “I know many of my classmates are ready to move on and want this speech to be over, but I don’t. My brain goes to the memories I cherish. The good, the band and all the memories we have made together.”
The COVID-19 pandemic caused schools across the country to close early in the spring of 2020 over virus concerns. Even as the school year started in the fall, COVID-19 was still a big presence as students returned to the classroom.
Madison Edmonds, another class speaker, noted the challenges the members of her class faced together.
“As I stand here today looking back on the 12-plus years we have spent together as a class I am humbled,” she said. “We have overcome many things together, including the clowns of 2016 and the COVID-19 pandemic that rocked our world. We managed to adapt to online classes and social distancing and hybrid classes. We managed to persevere and make it to this day, together as a class.”
Student speaker Jimena Natasha Lopez likened high school to riding a rollercoaster.
“We had our ups and downs, our twists and turns,” said Lopez, “but Class of 2021 I want to thank you guys for waiting in line and getting on with me. It’s been a great ride and now it’s finally coming to a stop. Even though I’m scared of heights, it’s one rollercoaster that I don’t want to get off.”
Riggenbach noted that despite COVID-19, the Monte Vista senior class was able to make the best of their final year of high school.
“We lost part of our junior year and most of our senior year to a situation out of our control,” Riggenbach said. “A part of us was missing. There was sadness in all of us, yet we smiled, telling ourselves that none of it mattered and despite it all, we are ready to go out in the world.”
Each student speaker thanked family, friends and staff. During the ceremony, each of the graduates went up into the bleachers and gave roses to the people that impacted their lives.
Monte Vista High School Principal Jose Ortega emceed the graduation ceremony.
The Melinda Pinkerton Inspiration Award was presented by her sister Megan Slifer to Claudia Velasquez-Hamilton.
Students graduating with honors included: Omar Aguilera, James Lamar Bell, Kaitlynn Ann Chavez, Braxton Wyatt Fringer, Cobi Thane Garcia, Matyson Raye Jones, Arthur Michael Lopez, Diego Samuel Milian, James Payton Oberrick, Aleena Irene Ortega, Tyrese Knoa Ortero, Amada Marie Quintana, Leon Andrew Romero, Alyssia Le Soto, Nicholas Raymond Torrez, and Adrian Joshua Vargas.
Students graduating with high honors included: Blaine Solomon Gillespie, Benjamin George Michel, Damian Isaac Moreno, Riggenbach, Andres Villa and Kylee Jamie Wilson.
Students graduating with the highest honors included: Trent David Anderson, Jenna Jade Barnett, Edmonds, Moses Ernesto Martinez, Sara Dunkin Nehring, and Evan Tyler Clarence Stults.
These new 62 high school graduates now head out into the world — some to college, some to the military and some into the workforce.
“Our options are endless, and our futures are in our own hands,” Edmonds said. “Our decisions from this day on will define who we are for the rest of our lives. Lives that I am sure will be full of lots of love and laughter and growth.”