MONTE VISTA— Monte Vista Middle School honored the Class of 2023 last Friday morning, May 24, with a continuation ceremony marking their departure from eighth grade and entrance into high school.
Following Lailah Scaggs leading attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance and Urianna Acosta performing the National Anthem, Master of Ceremony and eighth grade social studies teacher John Camponeschi gave an introduction emphasizing the power of community, reminding the students to be responsible as they become more pivotal and active in the Monte Vista community and beyond. Class of 2023 President Vianey Lopez echoed the class’ eagerness and readiness to join the community and thanked them for their support.
Following a performance by the MVMS Concert Band, guest speaker Mayor Dale Becker presented to the class, also joining in the theme of responsible citizenship. “Always leave the community and the world better than you found it,” Becker stated, encouraging the students to also not be afraid of new things, experiences, perspectives and “expanding your thought process.” Becker encouraged the students to keep in mind the importance of their education as a safeguard of democracy and concluded with quotes from “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss and Atticus Poetry, “Go forth and conquer for the world is small and you are the giant and in every step you take will make the ground shake as it rises to meet you.”
Vicki Jones with the Bethlehem Chapter 56-Order of the Eastern Star presented the Outstanding Female Student award to Marissa Martinez for her academic achievements and community leadership. Martinez thanked Jones and gave a speech full of gratitude to the MVMS teachers and staff, stating “The teachers at Monte Vista Middle School have really influenced and impacted my life in the best way possible.” Martinez thanked several teachers individually and provided some pleasant anecdotes about the class before giving them humorous words of encouragement, “Let’s get ready to start a new chapter in our lives and make some more ridiculous memories.”
Art Jones with the Monte Vista Lodge of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons presented the Outstanding Male Student award to Carlos O’choa-Marquez for his academic achievements and community leadership. O’choa-Marquez thanked Jones and the families who have supported the class of 2023 through their educational endeavors so far and thanked many of the teachers individually as well for supporting and building on the passions of the students.
Camponeschi also thanked the teachers and reminded them of the lifelong influence they’ll have on students’ lives and how each student will always remember them and carry memories of the class with them. Counselor Robyn Shawcroft also thanked the teachers and staff departing the school, some for other jobs within the district and some for positions elsewhere, including herself, eighth grade science teacher Bruce Velasquez, sixth grade language arts teacher Autumn Wright, sixth grade math teacher Danielle Gibbs who will be going to the Delta Center, secretary Jackie Webb and seventh grade language arts teacher April Tideman.
Tideman was selected to be the speaker and following a performance by the Monte Vista Middle School Dance Team, gave a tearful speech in both English and Spanish, the latter translated by student Dulce Maldonado. Tideman remarked on the honor of being selected and the irony of being given the last assignment by the students and gave them encouraging words to continue becoming who they hope to become. Tideman stated if the class of 2023 were to have a motto, it would be “keeping it real,” because they were so often honest, even humorously so, as she recalled being told “Mrs. T. you look a lot younger but you’re really the same age as my grandmother” and recalled receiving letters written at 3 a.m. in lieu of the assigned homework. Tideman pointed out the class of 2023 was known for having a reputation as rowdy and stubborn, but she encouraged them to remember the teachers all believe in them and know what great things they can accomplish.
Principal Tom Tichy presented the 4.0 awards to the two students who maintained this GPA all through middle school, Madison Miller and Marissa Martinez.
Before the presentation of certificates of continuation, Camponeschi thanked the student DJ Amayah Martinez and gave some final thoughts about trying to capture what the class of 2023 means to him. He pointed out it was his most difficult year as an educator yet but upon telling the class that he was reminded “We get that from all the teachers.” Camponeschi stated the students have an eager, ambitious energy the teachers can’t control, but he was thankful for that energy because as they grow they will focus that energy collectively and individually “… to become movers and shakers… who will never be held down or pushed around.” “Never stop being who you are….never forget where you came from,” Camponeschi stated.
The ceremony of flowers was followed by the performance of “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” by the MVMS Jazz Band and an end of the year video by the continuation committee. Camponeschi extended his thanks for the video to Mrs. Webb and Mrs. Darlene Sanchez.