A new chapter begins for Rattlers’ seniors

Anticipation, excitement and a little fear those were the emotions felt Friday night by the 48 graduates of Tucumcari High School.

"This is so intense," senior Alexander Villanueva said.

Tucumcari high school seniors toss their caps in celebration of their graduation Friday night at the Snake Pit.

The seniors gathered in the hall and reflected on past events and shared their feelings while they waited for the ceremony to begin.

Villanueva said for him the year seemed to pass by so slow but somehow graduation managed to sneak up on him.

Fellow senior George Montano said there were so many mixed emotions he could not pick one for the moment.

"I'm not sure what we are going to do after this," Montano said. "Never thought this day would come."

Four students were in danger of not being allowed to walk in the graduation after schools told them it was against school rules to alter their caps.

"We decorated the top of our hats without names," said senior Michelle Fazekas. She said their caps were not offensive, they were just unique much like the students wearing them.

Fellow seniors were able to convince school officials to allow the four in question to walk with altered caps.

"We were able to calm them down," said senior Esteban Martinez III. "It's all good. We're set to walk."

Senior Travis Garcia was scanning the crowd as they came in and waved at his family in the stand.

"It hasn't hit me yet," Garcia said.

Garcia said the magnitude of the day will probably catch up to him once he receives his diploma.

"It's a weird feeling," Garcia said. "We're not going to see each other in the hallways anymore."

The seniors marched one by one in to the gym as school band members played the traditional "Pomp and Circumstance."

Valedictorian Kirsten Dunlap urged her classmates not to view this graduation as a chapter closing in their life. She said instead they should view it as the starting point of the chapters of their life to come.

"We need a solid foundation from which to build on for success," Dunlap said. "Use your achievements as fuel for your future success.

The class presented a honorary diploma to the family of their fallen classmate, Kyle Brockman.

Brockman died on Dec.12, 2010, in a single vehicle accident. His classmates wrote: Kyle was a wonderful young man his smile would light up a room and his laughter was contagious. He has been greatly missed by his classmates, teachers and staff at Tucumcari High School.

With a confirmation from principal Nicole Bright-Lesly and the tassel ceremony led by class vice-president Jacky Fang, the class of 2012 graduated.

Villanueva was so excited after the ceremony he exited the gym through the nearest door.

"It's finally done, we are out of here," Villanueva said.

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