THS graduates move on to next chapter

Soon to be graduates Merissa Cooper and Maria Chavez sit down to relax for a few moments and share a laugh Friday at the Snake Pit as they await the start of the commencement ceremonies.

Soon to be graduates Merissa Cooper and Maria Chavez sit down to relax for a few moments and share a laugh Friday at the Snake Pit as they await the start of the commencement ceremonies.


Thomas Garcia

QCS Senior Writer


Anxious, nervous and excited.

Those were the emotions the 55 graduates of Tucumcari High School shared during Friday’s night commencement ceremony before family and friends at the Snake Pit.

“It hasn’t even hit me yet that I’m about to be one of the first to walk out for  graduation,” said E’Laura Chavez.

Chavez said while most of her senior year seemed to be a grind of finalizing plans, filling out scholarships and sending out invitations, it was her senior week that she will remember the most.

“We had so much fun with all of the events,” Chavez said.

Though for Mary Trujillo, co-class historian the nervous feelings were for being one of the last to walk during the processional.

“It’s not enough that I have to speak in front of everybody,” Trujillo said. “I’m worried about being the last one out and tripping.”

Trujillo said the last semester of her senior year seemed so packed and stressful with much to do to prepare for graduation.

“Senior week made up for all of the stress,” Trujillo said. “Though I am grateful that graduation is finally here and plan to move on to become a physical therapist.”

After the seniors made their way to their seats in alphabetical order for one last time, Assistant Superintendent David Johnson introduced Salutatorian Madeline Wiegel and Valedictorian Roxanne Awais.

“Graduation is a rite of passage, not a destination, it is a stepping stone to bigger and better things,” Wiegel said.

Wiegel said that many of the seniors might be scared of what lies ahead of them after graduation. She said that she knows she and her classmates will be successful if they meet the challenges and pressures of the unknown future with perseverance and determination.

Awais stole the show when she asked the audience to wait just a moment, took out her phone and tweeted that she was at graduation, had a tassel in her face and even took time to post a “selfie” (a photograph of herself).

“I’m just kidding, I don’t keep up with most of that social networking stuff,” Awais said. “Though a lot of my classmates and those in the audience knew what I was talking about.”

Awais said that after she and her fellow seniors receive their diplomas, they will become men and women looking to take the next step in their lives.

“I truly believe that if you find a path that will bring you happiness and fulfillment,” Awais said, “I know each of you will be successful.”

Awais said she thanked her classmates for allowing her to speak for them and appreciated Wiegel for  being a friend and an inspiration to continue to improve and push herself through the years.

Awais said she also wanted to remind her classmates to remember to thank those who have stood beside, behind and with them through the years.

“Those same people who have supported you are now sitting in the stands, proud of you, knowing that great things lay before you,” Awais said.

The graduates then received diplomas, but before the traditional tassel ceremony, the seniors had one last announcement to make.

Senior A.J. Chavez made a presentation on behalf of the senior class to parents Jessica Elebario and Lisa Cooper.

“We wanted to thank the two of you for all that you did,” Chavez said. “Without you senior week would not have been as special. You made out last week as Rattlers one to remember.”

Cooper and Elebario were called up onto the stage where they received flowers and hugs from some of the graduates.

“I was shocked, we didn’t do what we did for recognition, we did it for the kids,” Cooper said.

Class President Anisha Bhakta then instructed the graduates to move their tassels from the right of their caps to the left, and with a proclamation from Principal Nicole Bright Lesly, the Tucumcari High School Class of 2014 was announced and exited the Snake Pit with the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance.”

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