MONTE VISTA - The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed high school seniors’ last months in school all over the world. Monte Vista’s class of 2020 was finally able to hold their graduation ceremony Saturday, Aug. 1. Trying to make the day as normal as possible, the ceremony was held outside on the school’s football field with family and friends cheering from the bleachers behind masks.
Those in attendance were welcomed by the class of 2020s Co-Presidents Maegan Beckner and Josiah Perea. After which an address was given by senior Jocelyn Lopez-Duran. During her address Lopez-Duran noted how they have survived the very crazy year 2020 has turned out to be by saying, “Clearly we’ve survived and we’ve survived for the better.”
Senior Ashley Duran followed with another address sharing how their senior year was so different from expected, “Our last two months of high school were ripped out of our hands unexpectedly. We didn’t get that senior trip we raised all that money for, our last senior prom, or the traditional graduation we expected,” said Duran going on to share some great memories her class had made. After sharing some memories Duran said, “You are the people I shared my life with and eventually even though these last few months were taken away from us unexpectantly we finished our senior year. We finally made it.”
After Duran’s address all of the graduating seniors were given roses and they presented them to their parents. Emilio Sandoval then addressed his fellow graduating classmates echoing that their senior year had not been what they’d expected, “The only positive thing from this coronavirus pandemic however is that it did not stop us. We could’ve just been negative and given up because things became difficult but applying what we learned at the high school, dedicated ourselves on continuing our plans on graduating. I’m so proud of the class of 2020. Growing up I remember us always saying we were the special class because we graduate in 2020. But who would have known that this would become true? We are a special class because we never let an obstacle stop us. We keep going, grinding, pushing to get what we want.”
Senior Larissa Medina also addressed her classmates offering some words of encouragement saying, “What we missed out on during one quarter does not take away from all the fun and accomplishments we have already experienced. I took advantage of everything the high school experience has to offer.” Medina later sharing, “Don’t wait for the future to experience life. You should take advantage of the present because you never know what life changing event can happen next.”
School board President Gary Wilkinson then presented graduating senior Tonita Lopez with the Melinda Pinkerton Inspiration award. High school Principal Jose Ortega then presented Monte Vista’s class of 2020. Each senior was able to walk across the stage and receive their hard-earned diploma. Monte Vista’s 44 graduating seniors included: Alia Drennan Baker, Zachariah Joseph Castro, Jarren Jake Chavez, Sydni Nicole Chavez, Manuel Antonio Contreras, Kriselle Leanne DuPont, Aeneas Jayson Gomez, Elianna Allyce Gonzales, Kayla Jenniel Hernandez, Casin John Holder, Nyelie Marie Marrufo-Rivera, Yiselle Alejandrina Nungaray, Heather Paige Prevatte, Pablo Alejandro Rodriguez, Jason Stanton Ross, Melissa Rae Sanchez, Andrew Jared Smith-Martinez, Dakota Shane Timmins, Savanna Cruz Urbina, Kaidon Andrew Wenta and Kevin Lee Williams.
Students graduating with honors included: Elijah Joe Archuleta, Jovanna Lizet Arroyo, Ashley Rae Duran, Jason Andre Duran, Jacob Eric Gutierrez, Brycen Eric Hotz, Jocelyn Lopez-Duran, Madison Taylor Miller, Josiah David Perea, Madison Brienne Plane, Megan Palar Quintana, Emilio Carlos Sandoval, Kaylie Nicole Self, Alyssa Grace Nicole Tipsword, and Renee Nicole Widger.
Students graduating with high honors were: Hailiee Jane Cale, Karicia Danea Ceballos, Tonita Margarita Lopez, Larissa Rae Medina, Mareh Lynn Medina, Gabriel Michael Samora Jr., and Levi Joseph Trujillo IV. Maegan Faith Beckner graduate with highest honors.
The strong Monte Vista class of 2020 had white and gold as their class colors, and a teal and silver rose for their flower. Their class moto: “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’,” -Al Ford.