MVHS grads encouraged to ‘not fear failure’

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MONTE VISTA – The Monte Vista High School held a graduation ceremony for the Class of 2024 on Friday, May 24.

A little after 7 p.m., students began marching into the high school gymnasium wearing black caps and gowns, where approximately 450 people were seated in the bleachers and upper and lower seats.

As the students took their seats in the front of the stage, Monte Vista High School Principal Jose Ortega said, “Good evening, friends, family, and distinguished guests. Welcome to Monte Vista High School as we honor the Class of 2024.”

Ortega then asked everyone to stand for the playing of the national anthem by the high school band.

Graduate Valarie Goodland gave the student address.

“Our graduation ceremony today is a tribute to everyone who has supported us for the past 13 years of schooling. You have helped us with our homework, provided supplies for last-minute projects and supported us here at Monte Vista Schools since our very first day. Do you remember when you were a kid, and you were asked what you wanted to be when you grew up? I personally struggled to decide what I wanted to do, but I eventually decided on becoming a chef,” she said.

Goodland said that many adult responsibilities had taken over their lives since they were freshman including driving, buying their own phones, and registering to vote.

Goodland said that students in her class are now being faced with the task of deciding what to do with their lives. Goodland said she has struggled with her own thoughts of making the wrong decisions or failing, or believing she is not good enough.

“We have been trying our best, and that’s all that can be expected of any of us. Our best does not have to be 100 percent effort all the time. Sometimes we may be only able to give 20 percent, but our 20 percent at that moment is good enough. I want all of us to have a meaningful life, to live in a way that makes us happy and gives us a sense of purpose. There is meaning out there for everyone, now we just have to go and get it. Congratulations again to the Class of 2024,” she said.

Graduate Augustus Miller then began his address, stating that he had never written a speech before, but he wanted to congratulate the Class of 2024, and he also wanted to talk about seven valuable bits of information that he had run across in his life.

“First, say yes to everything and don’t fear failure. We will have multitudes of opportunities in our lives that we will never be able to take advantage of if we don’t say yes,” Miller said.

“Secondly embrace discomfort. ... Third, don’t seek happiness solely for yourself. ... Fourth, we don’t have to have it all figured out. ... Fifth, don’t rush. ... Sixth, be kind. ... Lastly, choose the words that you want to define you.”

Miller said he has been taking classes at Adams State University, and how one day a professor of his English class, was teaching a lesson, and spoke to him about picking three words that he would want to describe him after he dies.

“I want all of you to think about this and find the words you want to live by, words you want your family and friends to use to describe your life after you die. So, as we navigate to the next stage of our lives remember to be courageous and not fear failure. Take it slow and enjoy every step along the way, even if we may not know what the next step is and choose the words we want to live by. Afterall they may be the words inscribed on your tombstone long after you pass. Thank you,” he said.

Graduate Jordan Rockey then went to the podium to speak.

“Today, we stand on the brink of a new chapter in our lives, as we celebrate our high school graduation. Whether you are going to college, going into the military, or going straight into the work force. We have made it. It is important to remember that high school is just a chapter in the amazing adventures that lie ahead of us.”

Rockey said there will be tough times, and there will be failures to overcome, but they will also have moments of success and triumph and new friends.

“As Mr. Rivera would say, yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift that’s why it’s called the present,” Rockey said.

Rockey encouraged all her fellow classmates to surround themselves with positivity, and to also take risks and follow their dreams.

“Let’s remember that we are capable of achieving great things, and that the only limits that are placed are the ones we place on ourselves. Let’s chase our dreams, pursue our passions, and never lose sight of the incredible potential that lies within every one of us,” she said.

Kayleigh Garcia then gave a heartfelt tribute to the staff and parents of the school. She spoke of how the staff and parents were there for the students, and how they had guided the students to be what they are today. Garcia also mentioned all the members of different families including aunts and uncles, grandmothers, and grandfathers, along with mentioning the staff at the school again.

“Lastly to my mom and my brother, I owe many of my successes to you, through all of the sacrifices you have all made for me,” she said.

The graduates stood up after her address and took their parents and family members flowers, while hugging them and thanking them for their support.

The Melinda Pinkerton award was announced by Megan Pinkerton Slifer and given to Manuel Esgardo Ochoa.

The board of education then called all the graduates up one by one and gave each of them their diploma.