By Teresa L. Benns
CENTER— Center High School graduates walked the stage to receive their diplomas Saturday to the cheers and whistles of parents, family and friends. The school graduated 21 students this year, down by less than half from the 52 who graduated last year.
The class flower was the blue dahlia. Class colors were royal blue, white, silver and black. The class quote read: “Together we have experienced life. Separately we will pursue our dreams. Forever, our memories will remain” — Author Unknown.
Class officers were Alexis Sanchez-Duran, president; Camille Ruggles, vice-president; Jasmine Rodriguez, secretary and Hannah Montoya, treasurer. Senior sponsors were Susan Banning, Anna Bishop and Joe Martinez. Center School Board members Enrique Aguilar, Richard Barela, G. Lyn Bogle, Yuridia Cendejas and Misty Palacios took the stage to bid graduates farewell.
Principal Kevin Jones told the class that according to high school counselor Katrina Ruggles, they had the highest grades she has ever seen. “You are all top shelf,” Jones told the graduating seniors. “You will move mountains.”
Class salutatorian Alexis Sanchez-Duran told her classmates that the year went by fast and now they can look to the future. She thanked teachers for their hard work and said she hopes all the graduates will excel. “This is just the beginning,” she reminded her classmates. “It is time to branch off on our own and the future holds opportunities. Learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow.”
Valedictorian Camille Ruggles told her fellow classmates that, “Character is what defines us. High school is about developing and growing into who we are today.” She reminded them that during their high school years they decided who they are, what they want to be and what they want to be known for. She told them they should not do things simply because their parents and teachers want them to unless they themselves decide to do it. She sent them into their future with these words: “Live each day as if it is your last.”
In delivering the commencement address, Hanna Hays said that from the time she first came to Center, students always made her feel she was part of their family. “You treated me like an old friend, created a warm, inviting environment and gave me a home,” she said. “I am proud to play even the smallest part in your success.” She asked seniors to think about how their actions will impact others to help create a brighter world. “I will never forget how you made me feel,” Hays concluded. “May you always be a source of happiness to others as you were for us here.”
Nate Koerber also delivered a commencement address, telling students never to pass up “peculiar travel opportunities,” but to look at them as “dancing lessons from God.” Travel will open their eyes to more people and places, and those experiences will help them grow, he explained to the class. After a long farewell address to students, he ended by telling them: “The way you treat others is who you are. It’s not about stuff, it’s about people.”
Those graduating were: Ulysses Rogelio Aguilar, Andres Julian Almeida, Isaiah Lee Archuleta, Josselyn Duran, Cristian Francisco Guaderrama, Mariela Hernandez-Munoz, Donovan Sage Lujan, Malyka May Medina, Omar Mendoza-Loya, Hanna Danielle Montoya, Deja O’Cana, Donavan S. Olvera-Cruz, Leslie Yareth Padilla, Denise Quintero, David Ramos-Rico, Jasmine Nicole Rodriguez-Lopez, Camille Ruggles, Alexis Mariah Sanchez-Duran, Edith Soria, Anel F. Tovar-Sosa and Fidel Josue Villa-Macias.