MONTE VISTA — It was a perfect breezy afternoon, as the Monte Vista High School senior class gathered on the football field for their commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14.
There were nearly 500 people in attendance at the Harvey Sullivan Sports Complex. The ceremony for the 61 graduates kicked off with the National Anthem.
Senior Justine O’Brien spoke after the anthem.
“Before I begin, I would like to thank you all for coming out and supporting the Monte Vista graduating class of 2022,” O’Brien said. “I know that starting a speech talking about COVID isn’t the best way to go, but we are going to give it a shot. So, as all of you know, in the midst of COVID a lot of things changed, restaurants closing, and getting quarantined. Towards the end of our sophomore year that’s when everything really hit. We had just gone on spring break; we were all looking forward to the week off school because we needed that break. Unfortunately, our break was much longer than usual, we never finished our sophomore year the way we intended. Now look at us, we are all sitting here about to accomplish one of the biggest milestones of our life, getting a diploma. We all did this during the pandemic. I am so proud of each one of you for not giving up. Getting through the pandemic was not easy but look at us we did it.”
O’Brien went on to say that she remembered switching schools to attend Monte Vista High School in 2014, and although she was scared, she remembers being welcomed with open arms and she was thankful that everyone in her class was so welcoming.
She concluded her speech by telling everyone, “I am so proud of you guys for getting where you are at right now. So, good luck, and congratulations to the Monte Vista class of 2022.”
O’Brien then introduced Chloe Hindes.
“Good morning, everyone and thank you for coming,” Hindes said. “I am a big nerd, so I calculated it, we have been in class for 12 years, 2,160 days, 10,800 hours, 648,000 minutes, and 38 million, 800 hundred and 80 thousand seconds. I am so proud to be a part of this class the past 12 years have been amazing.”
Hindes went on to say that her class had gone from being young and ambitious to being older and just as ambitious ready to act out their dreams. She concluded by saying that she knows everyone there is going to go on to do great things.
“All of you are my best friends,” she said. “These past 12 years have been the best of my life. Overall, we have the experience that we grew up together, that is something that we will share as we go through life. We are more than friends, we are more than family, we are the class of 2022.”
An appreciation of flowers was then held for each senior with their parents and loved ones. The graduating class walked into the bleachers to hug their loved ones in appreciation of them being there at the graduation.
An introduction was then given to the Senior Class President Adelia Romero. She spoke about each year, that all the graduating classmates had been together, and how each year was different.
“As demanding as high school has been, I am honored to have accepted the challenge with all my classmates,” Romero said. “Over the past 14 years, we have probably spent more time with each other than we have with our own families. I am optimistic that our class is going to do amazing things, as we step into the adult world. I can’t wait to see the imprint that we are going to leave behind. Today is not a farewell, instead, it’s an opportunity to appreciate the memories we have made together. A big round of applause to our graduating class.”
The Melinda Pinkerton Inspiration Award was then presented by Meghan Slifer to Taija Smith. Pinkerton was Slifer’s sister. Slifer explained that Pinkerton was a 2006 Monte Vista High School graduate.
“Melinda lived with many hardships as she was diagnosed 3 years prior to her graduation with a rare and terminal disease, Neurofibromatosis type 2. My sister had the same dreams, aspirations, and excitement for the future as you have today.”
Slifer explained that her sister achieved a college degree and cared for so many people. Slifer said her sister was courageous until the end, and never lost her faith in God.
“I am saddened to say I lost my sister on April 7, of 2016, at the age of 28,” Slifer said. “I am presenting this award to someone who, like my sister, demonstrated courage and determination despite hardships. I present this year’s Melinda Pinkerton award to Taija Smith.”
Smith hugged Slifer and accepted the award.
Superintendent Scott Wiedeman presented the following students with honors: Naomi Vigil, Nathanial Jaurez, Antonio Hernandez, Elijah Gallegos, Hunter Pacheco, Clay Taffin, Alex DeHerrera, Cole Hindes, Mario Sanchez, David Clutter, and Lily Henderhan.
Weideman then presented the following students with high honor awards: Smith, Daniel Clark, Adelia Romero, Haley Bernall, Urianna Acosta, and Chevelle Garcia.
Weideman then presented the highest honor awards to the following students: Camille Rawinski, Davion Samora, Grace Goodland, Blaire Vanderpool, Colton Mellott, and Chloe Hindes.
The presentation of diplomas was made right after the honors were given out. One by one students were called in alphabetical order to accept their diplomas.
Following the ceremony, Alicia Samora said she was excited to graduate.
“I am excited to be one of the 2022 high school graduates,” Samora said. “My years of high school were hard, but honestly, my whole class is complete sweethearts, they are just amazing.”