Monte Vista Graduation held for Byron Syring Delta Center in person and online students

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Photos by Marie Mccolm Alorah Duzenack receives her diploma on May 11 at the Byron Syring DELTA Center and Monte Vista On-Line Academy graduation. Christopher Valenzuela speaks at the Byron Syring DELTA Center and Monte Vista On-Line Academy graduation on May 11 in Monte Vista.

MONTE VISTA - Thirty-eight Byron Syring DELTA Center and Monte Vista On-Line Academy students graduated in front of a packed and excited Jean Ritchey Central Auditorium on May 11. More than 250 people were in attendance.

The DELTA Center and On-Line Academy Director Rebekah Johnson welcomed the audience.

“Thank you for joining us today. Welcome to the 2024 commencement exercises. These programs play an important role in the Monte Vista School District’s Commitment to inspire the pursuit of excellence, one student at a time. Today, we celebrate the accomplishment of completing high school. High school can look different for everyone.  It’s not a one size fits all, and not all students fit a traditional mold. It's something that we're proud of is that we're able to provide a program that helps students find an approach that meets their individual needs,” she said.

Johnson introduced the first speaker in the ceremony, 2024 DELTA Center graduate Cyrus Guymon.

“Good morning, everyone. I've been here for two years. It's such an honor to stand here before you today and have the opportunity to talk to you about our school. I'm so extremely proud of all my peers and friends who are with me today. We have all worked so hard and waited our entire lives for today. All of that has finally paid off.  I think that everyone deserves to be here. It makes me so happy for all of you. We have all had our ups and downs and I'm assuming things haven't been the easiest if you ended up at the Delta Center. It has been so wonderful to watch my peers grow and mature and become such fantastic independent versions of themselves. I think that we owe so much to our teachers and staff of the school. And I would like to take a moment to appreciate them. These are some of the most supportive, kind and patient individuals that I have ever met and had the opportunity to learn from. I never could have guessed the impact that these teachers would have had on my life. To my fellow classmates and friends, I am so very proud of you, I hope that life treats us all well.”

Johnson then introduced 2024 graduate Payton Garcia, who said, “Hello faculty friends, family, and the class of 2024. I originally joined because of some health issues I had been struggling with. The brick-and-mortar schools were not willing to work with me at this difficult time. We started to look for online options, and thought that this would be the best fit, it obviously was. This transition to online schooling has allowed me to pursue my love for the outdoors. The flexibility of online school has made all the difference for me in my everyday life. The flexibility made it possible for me to have a job doing what I love, to train horses. It has also led me to explore new interests and passions. I have been taking Welding Classes at Front Range Community College in my junior and senior year. I am a few credits away from completing my associates now and I am excited to also be starting a job at the Front Range Community College this summer as the lead lab technician at the welding shop. The teachers were always so eager and willing to help me. In closing I would like to extend a warm thank you to all the teachers and my classmates of 2024.”

Johnson then introduced 2024 graduate Christopher Valenzuela, who said, “I would like to thank you all for being here today and celebrating this amazing accomplishment. First off, I would like to congratulate the graduating class of 2024. This is an amazing achievement and I hope you cherish every moment. I would also like to take a moment to tell you about my education. I am no valedictorian. And I was originally supposed to graduate in 2020. In middle school I was held back and had to repeat seventh grade. This was a huge blow to me. I was very bitter, but one of the things that kept me going was the fact that me and my little brother were now in the same grade. With his moral support by my side, and him allowing me into his friend group, it gave me a reason to try. When I made it to high school I was still plagued with discouragement. While I was hopeful, I was not up to par with my classes or my classmates, also due to a series of unfortunate events. I still wanted to graduate, so I moved to the Delta Center. With their flexibility and understanding, I was not only able to pursue my education. I was given the ability to explore the adult life. Through determination and consistency, I learned that you are able to overcome great obstacles and when you reach the top don’t forget to turn around and help others. Thank you.”

Johnson then announced graduate Chanel Tucker, who said, “Good morning my fellow teachers, students, and administrators. I am honored, grateful and a little terrified to be here with all of you today. Graduation is not only due to personal achievement, it is a testament to the collaborative effort of the village that supports. As we step into this new chapter of life, we will carry with us the lessons that we've learned. As we look to the future, we should be excited and ready to face new challenges, and to continue learning. So, here is to new beginnings, new opportunities, and to facing the unknown with courage. To our teachers thank you for your passion, your patience, and your belief in our education. I truly cannot believe that 13 years of all my education has finally come to an end. So let us celebrate the class of 2024, we did it. Congratulations graduates.”

After a slide show students gave roses and hugged family members as a thank you for their support.

Johnson then announced that diplomas would be handed out. As each student was called, they stepped up to receive their diplomas. After the turning of the tassels, some of the students threw their hats in the air and the ceremony concluded.

Graduate Alessandra Torres was asked how it felt to graduate, and she said, “It feels really good. I owe all my credit to my family for being there to support me today. I am going to attend barbering in the spring, and I will start my CDL in the fall. I am going to stay here for a year, and then after we will see where I go.”

Graduate Osvaldo Galindo was asked how he felt about graduating and he said, “It feels good. It feels good for it to finally be over. I plan to get my real estate license. I probably won't stay in the Valley. I am probably going to move.”