MONTE VISTA — A packed and smiling auditorium was seen on Saturday, May 14, as 43 students marched in from the Byron Syring DELTA Center and Monte Vista On-Line Academy to the Bill Metz Central Auditorium for their graduation ceremony. More than 300 people were in attendance.
The DELTA Center/MVOLA Director Rebekah Johnson welcomed the crowd and introduced the staff.
“Students, all these people played a role in helping you succeed but you are the ones who persevered and did it, and never quit," Johnson said. "High school education can look different for everyone, not all students fit the traditional school mold. We are proud to play a role in helping students find a program or approach that best meets his or her individual needs. Today we celebrate the accomplishment of completing high school with this group of students here.”
Johnson then introduced graduating Monte Vista On-Line Academy student Iyanna Myers.
"Many people have told me that today is the beginning of my journey, I disagree," Myers said. "The journey for all of us started a long time ago. Today just happens to be the day that all the paths we have traveled on come together. Once we walk through that door after the ceremony our paths will split into different directions once again, and our journeys will continue to be uniquely different. No matter what your next steps are, congratulations on making it to where you are today.”
Myers added that her journey had been a struggle and that she always thought that she would be graduating with the classmates that she had started school with, but she stated that due to choices she had made, she had left high school for a while, and then re-enrolled with Monte Vista Online Academy. Her first day was Sept. 3, 2020.
Myers explained how she felt low on confidence completing her first assignment, and how her instructor had given her some confidence by telling her, “'Everybody has things that they don’t like about themselves, but that’s why we continue to work toward becoming the person that we want to be.' I have carried these words with me for the past 618 days that I have been with Monte Vista On-Line Academy."
Myers said that in her creative writing class she also wrote a letter to her future self-reminding herself to be proud of who she once was, and whom she had become.
Myers ended her comments with, “To the class of 2022, congratulations we did it.”
Justin Doyle was also a speaker at the graduation. Doyle attended Byron Syring DELTA Center.
“I am honored to be standing up here today, to read this paper I call a speech. The teachers here are a different breed," Doyle said. "They have no obligation to work with us the way that they do, but each day they take the time to go up and make sure that we are on the right track. The teachers here care about their students and they continue to show their support to us, each and every day.”
Doyle went on to say that he appreciated the teachers at the school, and he appreciated being part of the school. He then thanked the school counselor, Dave Davoudlarian, for all he had done for him and the students at the school.
“If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have seen my education through,” Doyle said.
A slide show was then presented of the graduates, with current pictures and younger pictures as well. An appreciation presentation was also held giving the graduates time to step from the stage and hand their parents and other special people in their lives flowers and hugs to thank them for their support over the years.
The presentation of diplomas was by Monte Vista School District Superintendent Scott Wiedeman and Johnson. All the graduates were asked to stand, and one by one each graduate was called in alphabetical order and handed their diploma. The only graduate who was not present was Divine Luv Naranjo. Naranjo passed away on March 6 but was recognized.
"Divine received her diploma on Feb. 2. She is here with us in spirit,” Johnson said.
Graduate Serenity Valdez led her class in the turning of the tassels.
“Class of 2022 please stand," she said. "We have received our diplomas and have completed our graduation ceremony. We will now move our tassels from the right side to the left side. This marks the completion of our secondary schooling.”
Valdez then counted down from five to one, and all graduates moved their tassels over.
Johnson then presented all the graduates at the ceremony to the audience and stated, “Congratulations graduates.”