By Chelsea McNerney-Martinez
MONTE VISTA—An unusual sight for a Friday, Monte Vista Middle School had a packed crowd Friday morning for their Eighth Grade Continuation Ceremony, recognizing and honoring the class of 2022 as they leave the middle school and head for Monte Vista High School this August. Master of Ceremonies was eighth grade history teacher John Camponeschi.
Noemi Torres led the standing-room only gym in the pledge of allegiance and Jerry Chuquito sang the National Anthem before Camponeschi introduced Student Council Speaker Davion Samora. Samora stated “When I look around, I see my family,” telling the audience of many happy memories the class has had together since preschool and how they have leaned on one another in the past and will continue to do so as they go from the top of the pyramid as eighth graders to the bottom again as freshmen. “Our journey does not stop here. Let’s continue making memories and following our dreams.”
Camponeschi introduced the MVMS band, led by Jason Paschall, who played “Jupiter” from “The Planets” by Gustav Holst and Composed by Mark Williams, thanking the community for their “incredible support” of the band program.
Colorado State House District 62 Representative Donald Valdez gave a brief speech to the departing eighth graders, noting “I challenge you to write your own story, dream and reach for the stars.”
The class of 2022 chose two speakers from their class to give addresses. The first, Amada Quintana, also reflected on the deep bonds between the students as they have grown up together. She advised her peers to lean on those bonds to help them get through high school, and offered many words of advice to the underclassmen as well, listing the preferences of some of the teachers and encouraging them to be strong.
Blair Vanderpool praised middle school’s ability to both let the students grow and mature but also allow them to still be kids. Vanderpool applauded his class for exhibiting their greatness so far and encouraged them to continue to thrive and support one another, flawlessly including inspirational quotes from both Thomas Paine and Dr. Seuss.
Harold Willminger of the Monte Vista Masonic Lodge #73 came to present the outstanding MVMS Eight Grade boy and girl awards. Willlminger praised the class of 2022 as a graduate of the class of 1949, and explained the history and criteria of the prestigious awards, before realizing he had accidentally brought the wrong awards for a different class. The MVMS students handled the mix-up with grace, assisting Willminger in his announcement that he may have to go check his car with a drum roll from the band and cheers for the arrival of Mrs. Willminger with the correct list. “At least you know you’ll remember this assembly for a long time,” he told the middle school students before presenting the Masonic Lodge award to Hunter Pacheco and the Order of the Eastern Star award to Camille Rawinski.
April Tideman then recognized who she called “my six pack” with pun-based candy bars for their hard work, organization and leadership serving on student council. She honored Haley Bernal, Adelia Romero, Davion Samora, Analysia Perea, Blair Vanderpool and Camille Rawiski.
Lorraine Glidewell, seventh grade science teacher and dance coach, introduced the MVMS dance team, who gave an entirely student-choreographed performance that highlighted each dancer individually with solo/pair moves and the team overall.
The school staff speaker, eighth grade language arts teacher Paloma Mestas, gave a tearful speech outlining her decision to go from counseling to teaching and how much she appreciated all the students have taught her. Mestas began with a joke, telling the parents and family members they are probably wondering how their kids came to be leaving eighth grade already, “Well they are moving on, and you are getting old.” Mestas became more serious in a speech about the dedication of the students to expanding their learning horizons. “It takes a special group of students to make such an impact on a teacher’s life… you all brought so much to our classes…. Remember it’s ok to be a kid sometimes and always be kind whenever you can.”
Principal Thomas Tichy then presented the 4.0 awards to the students who received straight A grades through all three years of middle school. Tichy recognized Camille Rawinski, Chole Hindes and Colton Mellott with jackets and certificates for their high academic achievement.
The students then presented their family members with white roses “to signify their appreciation towards their family and friends who have supported them throughout their educational endeavors.” The student council presented a slideshow of photos taken of the middle school students over the school year, before the final certificates of continuation were presented to each eighth grader individually, with staff forming a line of congratulatory handshakes and high-fives.