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Early College Academy

"Some People's Kids" — Mark Walked

Early College Academy Graduation Transcript

- [Parker Randolph] ♪ By the dawn's early light ♪ ♪ What so proudly we hailed ♪ ♪ At the twilight's last gleaming ♪ ♪ Whose broad stripes and bright stars ♪ ♪ Through the perilous fight ♪ ♪ O'er the ramparts we watched ♪ ♪ Were so gallantly streaming ♪ ♪ And the rockets' red glare ♪ ♪ The bombs bursting in air ♪ ♪ Gave proof through the night ♪ ♪ That our flag was still there ♪ ♪ O say does that star-spangled ♪ ♪ Banner yet wave ♪ ♪ For the land of the free ♪ ♪ And the home of the brave ♪

GABINO NORIEGA: Thanks again. Introducing Mr. Arguelles.

PATRICK ARGUELLES: You may be seated. I think this will be fun all night long. Thank you for attending the Early College Academy's 12th commencement ceremony. It is my great honor and pleasure to introduce our special guests this evening. First, our two esteemed school board members. Both have been strong supporters of the Early College Academy and the Career Enrichment Center. From District Four, School Board Member Barbara Petersen. And from District Two, School Board Member Ms. Peggy Muller-Aragon. And do you want to give some extra special thanks to Ms. Muller-Aragon. She's attended many of our events, including our CEC Open House and Career Expo this year, our haunted house, and our Ethnic Studies Chicana/Chicano presentation done by our very own Mr. Noriega, so thank you. For our other two distinguished guests, Shannon Barnhill, Executive Director of the APS Educational Foundation. The Foundation has been a huge friend to CEC and ECA, and we thank them. And we also have APS Associate Superintendent for Zone 3, and my great boss, Yvonne Garcia. We appreciate all the support she has given us here at ECA and CEC. The Early College Academy staff on the stage, we have Assistant Principal Rebekah Floryance. We have Counselor Lynn Ramsey. Those two are the true leaders of our school. We have our Activities Director and CEC and UNM teacher, and soon to be doctor, Gabino Noriega. We have ECA and CEC teacher, and member of our Leadership Team, Mark Walker. We have ECA and CEC teacher, and member of our Leadership Team, John Glaser. we have our Special Ed Head Teacher and ECA Math Instructor, and member of our Leadership Team, John Potter. We also have our ECA and CEC Registrar, Veronica Lovato. Seniors, revel in this moment, but take the time to thank all who have been instrumental in helping you achieve this milestone. A big thanks goes out to Early College Academy's unsung heroes, our secretarial and security staff. They work tirelessly to meet the needs of the school and our staff, students, and parents, and they make our jobs so much easier. Veronica Lovato, Amanda Cortez, Nanette Grant, Zelma Medina, Yolanda Herrera, Anna Payan, Lupe Grado, and Harold Pope, thank you. I also want to thank the dedicated teaching staff at the school. Will any Early College Academy and Career Enrichment Center staff in the audience please rise? They're standing up everywhere. They do not seek any praise, but their skill and dedication to the task of educating the students is enormous. Also, we still did have class today until 5:30, so it was a little bit crazy. It goes without saying, don't forget your parents, your siblings, your grandparents, your aunts, your uncles, your entire village who contributed in raising you, mentoring you, and loving you when you are passing along words of appreciation to all who have been influential to your accomplishments. They are here tonight to celebrate your achievement with you, and we give you guys a big round of applause. Parent involvement and student engagement are at the core of what makes our school so successful, and is the cornerstone of everything good that happens here. We are often asked what it means to be a part of the Early College Academy family. The answer is simple, but the route is much more difficult. Oh, but the rewards are so lasting and meaningful. Our students participate in service to their school and community. They show a positive attitude towards classmates and teachers. They display an understanding and appreciation of civic responsibility, and they possess strength of character along with the courage to do what is right. These students promote citizenship and give back to the school. They make a conscious effort to be welcoming to others. They are humorous. They are compassionate. They have an infectious spirit, and they inspire those around them. They are dependable, trustworthy, reliable, and loyal. After our school-wide assembly and Senior Roast, which was amazing and hilarious, I sat and reflected on this class of 2019. And one word resonated over and over again, passion. This group has more passion than any group I have seen in my 18 years of high school graduations. And I'm not talking about pursue your passion kind of passion. Heck, if that were true, I would be a luchadore, fighting bad guys with a guitar in one hand and an iron fist in the other, all to rescue my princess. Not that passion, no, this is about having passion. This group came to ECA four years ago filled with hopes, dreams, and aspirations. This passion was their motivation to achieve their goals. This passion was their intense enthusiasm for each other, for our school. This passion was going to change the world. And I still see it today, these scientists, musicians, code writers, story tellers, actors, mathematicians, entrepreneurs. These students you see before you will indeed use their extraordinary passion to not only leave their mark on our school, but on the world beyond our school. Last night at our senior banquet we heard the long list of student accomplishments, but there's so much more. 93% of these students scored fours and fives on their math PARCC test. 95% scored fours and fives on the ELA portion. We had nine students with 30s and above on their ACT scores. In fact, no public school in New Mexico has higher ACT scores than ECA. Hundreds, hundreds of college credit hours, and on and on, and it was pretty impressive, but that's not what our ECA students are about. Generosity, integrity, character, and spirituality, a blessing to the ECA community, and a model of selflessness and service. That is what embodies the characters of an ECA student. As ECA graduates, you all begin with an advantage, a great education, but you also enter the same challenging world as your peers, so take advantage of the other skills you put in your tool box. You have made lifelong learning a habit. You understand what employers are looking for. You know how to act in the professional world, and you are willing to embrace change. Remember what you bring to the table. You have the character, the capacity, the drive, and the ability to keep making this world a better place. You have the qualities needed to succeed in college and career, honesty, kindness, motivation, determination, and respect. This class, the class of 2019, is unique in their support of each others' differences, accomplishments, skills, and personalities. You value one another, and you have helped each another become who you are. In just a few minutes, you, the class of 2019, will receive well-earned diplomas, so remember this. Your high school graduation is like no other that you will experience in your life. There will be no other graduation where you may have known the person sitting beside you since preschool or kindergarten, where the person sitting behind you once stood by your side as you battled the zombie apocalypse during the haunted house, or marched down Central to the Twinkle Light Parade dressed like a Jedi knight, or where the person sitting in front of you helped blow up gummy bears in science class, or dissect a cat in pre-med. There will be no other graduation where you will remember getting tossed in the Rio Grande River, a very common theme for all of these classes, on your freshman biology field trip, or having fun and playing games at an ECA Fun Night. This graduation takes on a life of its own through memories of classroom accomplishments, the pain of late night studying, shared smiles of happiness during good times, shared hugs of comfort during tough times, and a unique story that galvanizes a class of amazing students, proud parents, and dedicated teachers into a true ECA family. I stand in awe of what I know the future brings for all of you. So seniors, celebrate your graduation day. We do hope you have lots of fun planned after our ceremony. The future holds many challenges and successes for all of you. Each of you will have your own unique opportunities to grow. I am confident you will rise to every occasion. I sincerely wish you all the best for your future, and thank you for an excellent year, well done. Ms. Ramsey, it's all yours.

LYNN RAMSEY: So at this time, we would like to recognize the students with the top 10 grade point average at the early College Academy for the class of 2019. Can these students please stand? Jaimasan Sutton. Nicolas Berkopec. Ishan Loomba. Russell Ludwigsen, who is not here tonight. He's at National Science Fair. Alexander Rodriguez. Madeline Christison. Kioshi Morosin. Mike Adams. Abigail Craff. And Ruth Mueller. We commend these students for their hard work and efforts. The class of 2019 was a particularly talented and gifted group of students, and to be among the top in a cohort such as this is truly an accomplishment and an honor. Like all of their classmates at the Early College Academy, I know they will each be successful at all that they attempt and will make their own positive mark on the world. Congratulations, guys, thank you.

GABINO NORIEGA: You guys can sit down. Okay. So now we're going to be going on to the keynote speakers for this event. But first we'd like to call up teachers that know these students particularly well so they can introduce each one of those students. So first I'm going to go ahead and bring up Ms. Katya Adams to introduce one of our keynote speakers. Thank you.

KATYA ADAMS: Good afternoon. For those of you who don't know me or are conveniently pretending not to know me, my name is Katya Adams and I teach English 9 and English 11. And so the student I'm here to introduce was my student both as a freshman and a junior. I am here to talk about Abbie Craff. Now, I could throw a bunch of adjectives at you. Intelligent, hard-working, dedicated. And you would recognize Abbie in all of those. But I would like to introduce Abbie differently, through a metaphor. Abbie's dear to my heart not only because she was one of my best students, but also because she's a fellow vegetarian, and that alone says plenty. Just let me explain. Number one, I have never met a dumb vegetarian. All vegetarians I have ever encountered are interesting, intelligent people. What's the connection, you would ask. Well, it takes critical thinking and emotional intelligence to see beyond your own species. Number two, vegetarians have convictions and make conscious sacrifices. They stand strong when others take easy paths and sacrifice immediate gratification for bigger rewards. Number three, vegetarians have courage and are not afraid to be in the minority. So then when someone from the flesh-eating majority, let's say someone like Kioshi Morosin tells you how deeply wrong you are, you immediately take that wrong and shove it right back to where that wrong just came from. Yeah, that's right, you heard me. Or when seniors give you a barbecue placemat that features images of different kinds of meat as part of their clever senior prank, you immediately turn around and donate that silly placemat to a charity that rescues animals from people. Number four, vegetarians have to be ever ready with witty responses to the comments of the flesh-eating majority. So that when your principal tells you that we eat cows because cows don't have feelings, you immediately respond that since he can technically be eaten too, does that automatically imply that he does not have feelings? Number five, vegetarians have empathy that goes beyond their own species, even if those alien species appear to them as incomprehensible as someone like Caleb Sontag or Jacob Newlander. Number six, all the way deep into 11th grade, I viewed Abbie as a soft-spoken mild person until one day I overheard her giving a hard time to Nick Berkopec, a representative of another species who happened to share the table with Abbie. The sass that was coming from that girl. Poor Nick was struck speechless and was barely staying afloat. Soon I realized that that was not a singular occasion when Nick was struck speechless. The occasion was part of Nick's daily routine in my class. You would ask, what does that have to do with vegetarianism? And that brings me to my last point. Vegetarians hold others accountable and remind others that the world does not revolve around them, and that they're not the only ones who eat others, but that they are in fact can be eaten, too. So a person of intelligence and wit, of conviction and courage and empathy, someone who will finally hold this world accountable. It is my honor to introduce to you this year's salutatorian, Abbie Craff. Abbie. Abbie, go show 'em.

ABBIE CRAFF: Thank you. Okay, hello. Greetings to my fellow graduates, the staff and faculty, and to all the friends and family that have come out to support us. Today, as one chapter of our lives draws to a close, another begins. We will leave this auditorium not just as graduates of high school, but as young men and women, ready and eager to begin the next part of our lives. For many of us, despite our excitement, this upcoming change may seem a little daunting. However, I know that the trials and tribulations, the laughter and successes of the past four years has more than prepared us for wherever life will take us. After all, we all are a pretty impressive class and are thus leaving some pretty big shoes for future graduating classes to fill. On top of being the most attractive and the smartest class to ever grace the halls of Early College Academy, we have some pretty accomplished students. We have great athletes, fantastic, world-class musicians, including a pretty awesome band, even though I personally think 3 Rection was a much better name than Crisis Averted, and incredible, budding scientists and mathematicians. I do have to mention, though, it absolutely amazes me how our class can be filled with such brilliance, and then I can look down the halls at lunchtime and see these same members of the class of 2019 trying to inconspicuously lick each others' elbows. These seemingly paradoxical actions remind me of a quote from the French playwright, Honore de Balzac. "It is the mark of a great man that he puts to flight "all ordinary calculations. "He is at once sublime and touching, "childlike and of the race of giants." This childlike greatness truly does lie within the members of the class of 2019. I have never met a group of people as willing to question their surroundings and push the limits of their knowledge. I have also never met a group of people as willing to debate about everything. And I mean everything. For us, arguments do not stop in the English classroom, and each person has their own strong opinion. From whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich, it isn't, by the way, to whether Kanye West or Queen has better music, debates are raging almost constantly. This is in part due to these past four years at ECA, which have helped us to become more comfortable and confident in ourselves and unafraid to stand up for what we believe in, be it about a serious topic or a more lighthearted one. As you all move onto bigger and greater things, these skills that you have picked up and fostered at ECA will guide you toward future fulfillment. Greatness lies within each and every one of you, and while ECA has helped us all to begin uncovering it, it is up to you to take your next great strides yourself. Push yourself, stretch your understanding of the world, and in the words of One Direction, nobody can drag you down. I am proud to be sharing this stage with all of these incredible individuals, and I wish you all the best of luck in the future. I know that this class is amazing and will accomplish many things. It is now time for the world to see our greatness, too. As you leave this auditorium, there is no reason for you to be scared about the future. Our time at Early College Academy has more than prepared us for our futures, and we will be able to take whatever the world throws at us and come out on top. In the words of William Shakespeare, "It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, "but in ourselves." As you walk out of these auditorium doors, you will be in full control of your life and your future. It is up to you to use your inner greatness to achieve the destiny of your dreams, thank you.

GABINO NORIEGA: Oh man, I wish I could speak that well. Good job, Abbie. Okay, so I'm gonna introduce the teacher that's gonna introduce the next student, and she's a really awesome teacher. She's our Chinese teacher for CEC, and she knows this student really well, so I'm sure she'll be able to tell you all about her. So without further ado, here's Ms. Rubing Hsu.

RUBING HSU: Ruth Mueller took my Chinese class for three years. In the first week of class, I asked all students to tell me two things they want in their Chinese names. Ruth told me she liked to cook. Therefore, I name her Chou Sing. Chou means skillful, Sing means fragrant. At Meet Autumn festival in my class, all students taste the Chinese moon cake and sun cake for the first time. Later, Ruth's father told me that Ruth try and succeeded in making Chinese sun cake at home for a bake sale. My reaction was, wow, because Chinese sun cake is not just that easy to make, even for an experienced cook. In Chinese writing, there is a simplified version and the more complex traditional version. Ruth chooses to write traditional version and sticks with it for the entire three years. She impresses me with her diligence and rigor in learning a foreign language. She will always do the drills without trying any shortcut. In my class, all students need to make their Chinese business card. On her card, she writes her dream job as a college professor of Ivy League. Her passion is quantum physics and chocolate. She likes to talk about what she learned in her robotics class, and she showed me the Chinese characters printed on the parts. In my 13 years of teaching at CEC, Ruth is the second non-ethnic Chinese student to take the AP exam. She's not afraid of challenges. Sometimes I wonder if my teaching is good enough for her. She practices ballet for years, and her family likes the outdoors. Next month, Ruth will visit China. And her itinerary includes several days at Guilin, the city famous for its unique landscape of mountain and river. I can't wait to hear about her experience when she returns from the China trip. As a teacher, I feel so lucky to have Ruth in my class for three years. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you our valedictorian, Ruth Mueller.

GABINO NORIEGA: There we go.

RUTH MUELLER: Thanks. I'm not so great at words, so I kept my speech short. I'm honored and delighted to speak in front of everyone here today. I'm thankful for all the support that the teachers and administrators at this school, all the support that they've been, they're exceptional resources and very kind, and I've learned so much from them, and I think everyone here has as well. They help with homework, college planning, great advice, and they are fantastic resources for chocolate. I appreciate the opportunities available here to learn, and I'm very grateful for the support outside of the school that I've had the privilege to had, to be part of, from ballet and church. High school's been pretty good. It has its good, has its great, has its not so great. I've enjoyed many of the events, including the freshman river trip, haunted houses, robot battles, and Twinkle Light parades. Definitely repeating that. Most of my time, and most of many people here time was spent studying or working on homework because the focus has never been all the events or the celebrations, but what we can learn from the classes and from the time we are privileged to be able to spend with our teachers. There are a thousand things that I wish I could've had time to do, but I'm satisfied that focusing on academics at this school is a great choice and will lead to good opportunities in the future. It feels weird to be at the end of senior year. I keep having this nagging feeling that I need to study for finals. It just seems like the end of another school year, like I'll be coming back here in the fall next year. I can still procrastinate accepting that high school is over until diplomas are handed out, so I'm gonna do that. Looking to the future, that it's not coming yet 'cause it's after graduation, I'm excited for summer break, and I'm excited to have a summer break without classes for the first time in a very long time 'cause we've all had the fantastic chance to take summer dual credit classes as well, which have been tremendously helpful. I'm excited personally to leave for college and head away and meet lots of new people. And I'm nervous to leave for college because I will be going away and meeting lots of new people. The future is inherently uncertain, and I suppose we'll all have to deal with it as it comes. Best of luck to everyone, hoping that you won't need it.

PATRICK ARGUELLES: I'm gonna bring Mr. Noriega back up to do student recognitions.

GABINO NORIEGA: Oh, sorry. Okay, so, I'm trying to find 'em, I'm sorry. Oh, oh, they're right in front of my face. Okay, sorry about that. All right, so special awards. These students have all done really excellent things here at ECA over the last four years. Some of it was winning like international science fairs, some of it was dancing in the new building where no one else thought they could see them, but we saw them on the video cameras. Some of 'em were playing international competitions for piano, some of 'em were earning their Eagle Scouts. Some of 'em were running lighting and sound at Albuquerque High School's theater program, and then complaining how the acting was bad. Some of them were volunteering like crazy around all of Albuquerque and even around the state. But they all did something really special, and that's why we wanna make sure that everybody recognizes them. First off, I'd like to recognize the ECA Student Body Officers, Abbie Craff and Dania Hijazi. Please stand. Thank you, ladies, for always just being so awesome with planning and just being organized and trying to keep me in line, too, so I appreciate it, thank you. Next, we have our Citizenship Award recipient, JJ Pena. He was always just a great young man to talk to and discuss who would win in a fight. Academic Achievement is Rusty Ludwigsen. Unfortunately, he couldn't be here today. He is at the National Science Fair Competition, so that's why he's not here. That says a lot. Our awards for Academic Excellence go to Mike Adams and Ishan Loomba. One of them's gonna be everybody's boss, and the other one, we're gonna just listen to his music all the time. And our Principal Awards go to Kioshi Morosin and Ruby Wilson. These kids are the most dependable group of students that we've had in a long time, so congratulations, guys. I'm gonna bring up Mr. Arguelles.

PATRICK ARGUELLES: Esteemed APS School Board Members, Ms. Peggy Muller-Aragon and Ms. Barbara Petersen, I would like to present the class of 2019. They have met all of the graduation requirements. Having a little bit of a hard time seeing this. They have met all the graduation requirements as set forth by the Albuquerque Public School District and the Board of Education, along with the New Mexico Public Education Department. To you, I present the class of 2019. Excuse me.

BOARD MEMBER PEGGY MULLER-ARAGON: On behalf of the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education, we accept the 2019 graduating class of Early College Academy. And graduates, back when I was in high school, more than four decades ago, I had a favorite dancer, and he was phenomenal. His name was Baryshnikov. I'm sure a lot of you remember him. And he had some words of wisdom that I want to pass on to you. He said, "Don't make it your goal to be the best. "Best is just a label. "It's something that someone else gives to you. "Rather, be better, that is more personal." So I say, every day, in some way, as you begin your journey in life, be better. Congratulations, graduates.

PATRICK ARGUELLES: Okay, thank you. We're gonna have the graduates please stand. Mike Adams, will you lead us out? So while they're going around, 'cause it's a nice long trip, I believe they're gonna play the slideshow. It's gonna take a couple of minutes for us to get around to the other side. And then we are going to hand out diplomas.


(slideshow of student portraits begins to play)

♪ Hope when you take that jump ♪ ♪ You don't fear the fall ♪ ♪ Hope when the water rises ♪ ♪ You built a wall ♪ ♪ Hope when the crowd screams out ♪ ♪ They're screaming your name ♪ ♪ Hope if everybody runs ♪ ♪ You choose to stay ♪ ♪ Hope that you fall in love ♪ ♪ And it hurts so bad ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ The only way you can know ♪ ♪ You gave it all you had ♪ ♪ And I hope that you don't suffer ♪ ♪ But take the pain ♪ ♪ Hope when the moment comes you'll say ♪ ♪ I, I did it all ♪ ♪ I, I did it all ♪

LYNN RAMSEY: We will be playing that after the ceremony as well. Thank you, graduates, I know it was a long walk to the stadium, so let's get this going. First, I'd like to introduce Mike Adams. Mike will continue in his internship at Sandia Labs while he attends UNM and works towards a degree in computer science. He wanted to thank Mr. Wolverton for his mentorship in both math and computer science. His teaching and projects reinforce Mike's goal to work in the field of computer science. His favorite memory of ECA is of Mr. Walker scaring folks with a chainsaw during the haunted house. Nick Louis Berkopec. Nick will continue at UNM and is already well on his way to becoming a math professor. He thanks his parents and his teachers, and his favorite memory is of prom and Dr. Nesbitt. Brianna Monet Chavez. Brianna will be joining the Air Force and will be stationed in Texas. She wants to travel the world and become a journalist. She thanks her mom and dad for bringing her into this world and her mom especially for the emotional support and help. She also thanks her nana for helping her through it all, and all of her other family and friends. Her best memory is of the fun she had with her friends, the ones that helped keep her on her feet and get through the challenges of the high school experience. Madeleine Summer Christison. A National Merit Finalist and graduate of the CEC EMT Program, Mattie will attend Texas A&M in the fall to continue to work as an EMT and study medicine. She wants to be a surgeon one day. She thanks her parents for supporting her in her ambitions and helping her in every way that they could. She will always remember dissecting a cat in her pre-med class. Zachary David Christopher. Zach has been accepted into the New Mexico State Fire Training Academy in Socorro, New Mexico. He is currently a cadet with the Moriarty Fire Station and plans on becoming a firefighter long term. He wanted to thank Mr. Fretwell for helping him graduate and his family for supporting him. Also his boss and coworker, Fred and Pat, for teaching him and pushing him to do his best, and all of his other teachers. The river trip is a favorite memory for Zach, and also going to the Isotopes game with Mr. Potter. Abigail Rose Craff. Also a National Merit Finalist, Abbie will attend Notre Dame in the fall as a member of the Honors Program there. She will double major in Economics and German and wants to work as an intelligence analyst someday. She thanks the administrators and the teachers at ECA and her family and coaches who supported her and helped her to be who she is today. She will always remember the freshman river trip and seeing her classmates in a different light, and both the work and fun that brought them all together. Lena Christine Cunningham. A cadet in the CEC Police Service Aide Program, Lena plans to attend correctional officer training after graduation. She wants to be an APD officer and become a detective like her father. She thanks her father for being a constant motivator and inspiration in her life and for her future. Her favorite memory is of the family she met in the PSA class and of her best friends Kadalina, Emma, and Ashley, and all the stress, tears, and laughter they shared together. Morgan Currier. Morgan is planning to attend the University of New Mexico where he will also play rugby. He intends to study criminal justice. He would like to thank his mom, because no matter how hard he was on her, she still pushed him to become the best person he could be, and she never gave up. The freshman trip to the river is also a favorite memory for Morgan. Nikita David Dougan. An early graduate, a year ahead of his time, Nikita will attend the University of New Mexico. His goals are to become a biologist for the Center of Disease Control and to write a book someday. He thanks his sixth grade English teacher, Mrs. Lake, because she is the reason he always tries to do his best in school and at writing. Bailey Giese. Bailey Giese could not make it tonight, but she was also a graduate of the CEC EMT Program and will attend Oklahoma Christian University to study medicine. She wanted to thank her mom for encouraging her to succeed. She also wanted to thank Dr. Baker and Mr. Reed for inspiring her to pursue a career in healthcare. Sa'angna Mi'ila Gollette. Mi'ila will attend UNM, and she plans to major in biology and minor in videography. She dreams of making film documentaries of marine wildlife, particularly endangered species and their habitats. She thanks her lovely grandma for being her best friend and supporting her decisions for her future and getting her through high school. She will never forget starting her mornings in English joking around with Ashley, Denise, and Zach, while Mr. Fretwell was constantly telling them to be quiet. Alez Hernandez-Sanchez.

- [Man] Go, Alez!

LYNN RAMSEY: Alez will continue, will be attending CNM to study nursing. She thanks her parents because throughout high school, they taught her to work extra hard and to take pride in her failures as well as her accomplishments. Her favorite memory of ECA is the freshman trip to Tingley Beach, and she will forever cherish the memories that she made with her classmates. Dania Hijazi. Also a graduate of the EMT Program, Dania will attend UNM to work towards her Bachelor's degree in biochemistry and continue on to become a physician assistant. She is grateful for her parents for always acknowledging her achievements and encouraging her to do better. She will always remember the amazing lunches with friends. Whether laughing or crying, she knew they were making memories that would be lasting forever. Angela Hristopoulos. Hristopoulos. Angela is undecided at this time as to what she will study, but she does plan to attend the University of New Mexico in the fall. She will always remember being a part of the haunted house at CEC and of her prom. Aleksi Leiva is another graduate of ECA who could not be here this evening. Trinity Lester-Young. Trinity's going on to attend New Mexico State University. She's going to major in biology and wants to become an orthopedic surgeon. She would like to thank her teachers and the administration for supporting her through high school. She'd like to thank the support given to her from her family and friends as well, through the hard times and the good. A favorite memory of hers is the time spent during her freshman year at the haunted house. The volunteering that she did to help set it up, as well as going through the haunted house with her friends is something she will never forget. Ishan Loomba. An internationally selected Cliburn contestant, Ishan will continue to study piano at Oberland Conservatory in college. He hopes to become a concert pianist and composer, and maybe study neuroscience one day as well. He wants to acknowledge and thank a family friend, Uncle Eric, who sadly passed away last year, but always supported him in his goals. His favorite memories of ECA are dissecting a starfish in Mr. Walker's biology class, and Mr. Tokuda's Wile E. Coyote acceleration lab, and his lunch conversations with his friend Mike Adams and all the fun they had. He always looked forward to that time they had together. We mentioned Rusty Ludwigsen. He is currently competing in Phoenix, Arizona, and at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair with his research that looks at innovative stroke therapy. After assessing his college options, Rusty has opted to remain here as a Regents' Scholar and attend the University of New Mexico to study biochemistry, continuing to work at the Brain and Behavioral Health Institute, and publish his work in both migraine and stroke science. As an undergraduate, Rusty plans to study biochemistry and pursue an MD PhD, eventually both practicing and researching medicine. Rusty would like to thank his mother who has provided him unlimited stream of support. And they're watching from Phoenix, so we wanted to shout out to him. Denise Maestas. Denise will start at CNM in the fall and wants to major in criminal justice. She thanks her mom and dad for always fighting for her and encouraging her to experience new opportunities. One of her favorite memories of ECA is sitting in the parking lot with her friends and making memories she'll never forget. Felicity Deann Montoya. A graduate of the CEC Nurse Assistant Program, Felicity will attend Central New Mexico Community College and then on to UNM to pursue a career in the medical field as a nurse. She thanks her mom and dad for being her biggest supporters and inspiration. She will continue to make them proud. Her favorite memory is of being in Student Government and helping families in need and buying them Christmas gifts. She also very much enjoyed the Nursing Assistant Program and the opportunity to participate in clinicals and work with patients. Emily Morgan-Tracy. Emily will attend the University of New Mexico in the fall and plans to pursue a career in the medical field. Hopefully Emily will continue to pursue her talent in music in playing the violin, and even teach someday. Kioshi Morosin. A National Merit Scholar, Kioshi will attend the University of New Mexico. He wanted to thank Katya Adams, Mike Nord, and Ralph Adkins for their support and constant encouragement. Ruth Mueller. Also a National Merit Scholar, Ruth will attend Harvey Mudd in Claremont, California to study math, engineering, or physics. She thanks Mrs. Selia for her advice and kindness and Jessica Lakesman for inspiration and kindness as well. Her most fun at ECA was working in the haunted house every year. Kevin Myllamoto. Also a graduate of the CEC Nursing Assistant Program, Kevin will attend New Mexico State University and continue to study nursing as well as computer science. He thanks Mr. Noriega for always keeping it real and pushing him to be the best he can be and be a strong leader. Also Mrs. Lovato for telling him about ECA. A favorite memory was spraying bathroom spray in Noriega's classroom, attending the Winter Ball and prom, senior ditch day, and making memories with his closest and best friends. Jacob D. Newlander. Jacob will attend the University of New Mexico and wants to become a musician and a history professor. He thanks his mom and also Mr. Noriega for letting his band practice in his room at lunch. He will always remember walking through the halls of ECA with Santi and singing "Shall I Stay or Shall I Go Now" by the Clash. Delysia Therese Nicasio. Also a graduate of the CEC Nursing Assistant Program, Delysia will start at CNM and work towards her Bachelor's degree in Nursing and one day become a nurse practitioner. She thanks her mom and her family for supporting her, inspiring her, and encouraging her through high school and her accomplishments. Her best memory is of being in the Nursing Assistant Program and having the opportunity to care for many elderly patients and making a difference in their lives. Ayla Ofer. Ayla is a graduate of the CEC EMT Program and plans to continue to study medicine and attend the University of New Mexico. She thanks her mom for being her rock and a constant source of support and encouragement, and for believing in her when she didn't believe in herself. Her mom will always be willing to fight for anyone who got in the way of her happiness or goals, and she showed her who it was when she wanted to be. Alex Olivencia. Also a graduate of the CEC EMT Program, Alex will continue to study medicine at UNM and pursue his paramedic license. He wants to be an anesthesiologist or some specialist in the medical field. He thanks his grandparents, AKA Meema and Papa, for their continued support, and his mom and dad for pushing him to do better and choose better, for being there every step of the way and encouraging him to dream and become. Alexandra Pena. A graduate of the CEC EMT Program, Alex will attend UNM in the fall in hopes to continue to study in the field of medicine and become a surgeon one day with the emphasis in emergency medicine and wilderness medicine. She thanks her brother, Andrew Pena, for always believing in her and being by her side, as well as her mom and dad for supporting her every step of the way. Her favorite memory is of the friends and of dancing at lunch to the song "Dancing Queen." JJ Pena. JJ will attend UNM in the fall as well. His interest in telling stories and learning more about different ways stories are told, be it books, games, video games, movies, web series, or screenplays, he wants to become a professional storyteller in one of those ways with a focus on the hero's journey and the human condition. He was inspired by the late Monte Ohn, who encouraged him to get back into storytelling and was a great influence for him creatively. He appreciates and will remember ECA for helping him to come out of his shell and be more social and realize more of his own potential. Kadalina Kassandra Perry.

- Yeah!

LYNN RAMSEY: Kadalina plans to attend CNM in the fall and become a cardiologist or a psychiatrist. She would like to thank her close friends and family for supporting her, and her dog Phoenix for always being there. Also Lena, Emma, and Ashley for all of the memories, laughs, and cries. Ashley Ramos. Ashley will start at CNM and plans to major in criminology and criminal justice and English. She hopes to one day become a crime scene investigator. She thanks her mom for never giving up on her no matter how much she wanted to give up herself, and she's truly her best friend. She will always remember the blueberry smoothies, car rides, how she gained a true and deeper understanding of love and family. Mi'ila, Denise, Lena, Emma, and Kadalina have given her constant support and love and are her sisters from a different family. Alexander Rodriguez. Alex is also a National Merit Scholar and will plan to attend the University of New Mexico. Santiago Alejandra Saenz. Santi will attend the University of New Mexico in hopes to become a musician or a biologist. He thanks Mr. Walker, Mr. Noriega, Ms. Adams, Ms. Gordon, his parents, and his dogs. Alexandra Sartori is another graduate of ECA who could not be here tonight. She's gonna be at New Mexico Tech in the fall. We're very proud of her. Keller Sedillo-Garrido. Keller will attend New Mexico State University and plans to major in computer science. He thanks his Uncle Martin for inspiring him to become an engineer. His best memories of ECA are the school dances and hanging out with his guy friends. Emma Elizabeth Ozemba Sewell. Emma will start at CNM and eventually transfer to Eastern New Mexico University to major in forensic science. She wants to become a crime scene investigator and do fingerprinting and blood splatter analysis. She thanks her family, Mom and Dad and Abby, for always pushing her to be a better person. Her best memory of ECA is spending every day after school with Lena and Kadalina and going on many, many adventures with them. She also created the assembly in 2018 for school safety. Caleb Sontag. A graduate of the CEC EMT Program, Caleb will continue to study emergency medicine at UNM to get his paramedic license. His best memories of ECA are of making puns in class. Jaimasan Paige Sutton. Jaimasan will attend UNM and plans to minor in music and major in neurology and become a neurological researcher. She thanks her mom for being so supportive and for knowing how to make the best out of a bad situation. She will remember the haunted house her senior year, and when she had Mr. Walker's snake Herbie wrapped around her neck while she gave tours of the haunted house. Noah Tafoya. Noah wants to be a radiologist and a writer. He will start at CNM in the Radiology Tech Program and later transfer to UNM for his Bachelor's degree. He would like to thank his mom and his dad for putting his interests first and providing the best possible route for him through school. His favorite memory is of the freshman river trip as well, and also playing football with his friends at lunch. Olivia Velasquez. Also a graduate of the CEC EMT Program, Olivia will attend UNM and continue on in emergency medicine to get her paramedic license. She wants to be a medical researcher. She thanks Mr. Reed for introducing her to the medical field and will always remember their senior trip to Meow Wolf. And last but not least, Ruby Grace Wilson. Ruby will attend New Mexico State University and plans to become a preschool or elementary teacher. She thanks her sisters, parents, grandparents, and her church family. Her best memory in high school is working with an amazing group of preschoolers at Eugene Field Elementary School. And there you have it, the class of 2019, congratulations. I guess Ruby's gotta come out now.

PATRICK ARGUELLES: She will. So Ruby Wilson will now lead her classmates in the final writ of passage.

RUBY WILSON: Graduates, please rise. Our tassels represent the integrity, courage, perseverance that we all have gained throughout our time here at ECA. And now to symbolize our transition from high school to our future, please join me in the turning of the tassels from right to left. Congratulations, class of 2019, we did it!

PATRICK ARGUELLES: You may be seated. ECA class of 2019, congratulations. Given the number of mentions our Language Arts teachers got last night at the Senior Awards Banquet, it makes sense to quote a famous author in these final thoughts. Mark Twain said, "20 years from now you will be "more disappointed by the things that you didn't do "than by the ones you did do. "So throw off the bowlines. "Sail away from the safe harbor. "Catch the trade winds in your sails. "Explore, dream, discover." As you sail away from ECA and explore and discover, I hope you take a piece of Early College Academy pride with you into the next phase of your life. I hope you find college life rewarding and that you fall in love with your new school the way we fell in love with you. I hope you find a career that makes it a pleasure to get up in the morning and keeps you proud each and every day. I hope you know the blessings of good health. I hope you're close with your own parents and recognize their wisdom for many, many years to come. And most of all, I hope you remember us and keep Early College Academy alive in your hearts for the rest of your lives. Every year I take time to remind you of some of the lessons you've learned in your time at ECA. I've added a few this year based on this class. I know they will last a lifetime. Remember to say "please" and "thank you." Leave things better than the way you found them. Learn something new every day. Forgive others and forgive yourself often. In honor of one of our award winners tonight, it's okay to say, "I'm right," especially if you are, but don't assume you're right every time, even if you think you are, and be humble. Take advantage of the technology that is at your disposal, but the best form of communication is voice to voice or face to face. Pause before you post. What you post on Instagram, what you tweet or Snapchat, your Vines, YouTubes, any social media you use, is always public. You are always being interviewed. Be mindful of what you say, how you dress, and how you treat others. You never know who is watching or listening. Have self-respect. Be comfortable in your skin, love who you are. Each and every one of you is special and important. Volunteer. People who volunteer for good causes report higher levels of happiness and health than those who don't volunteer. Volunteering gives you a sense of perspective. And finally, bend down once in a while, smell a flower, and smile. To you, and to my entire ECA family, how lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. And since he always has to, here is Mr. Noriega with the last word.

GABINO NORIEGA: Your period of service is over, my young Jedi. Go out and seek your fortune and may the force be with you. Guests, please rise as the graduates leave the floor. Parents and family and friends, your graduates will be meeting you guys on that side of the building. So if you guys wanna just go out and exit, and then go into the parking lot over here, that's where they'll be. So they'll be over there after they do their one picture out here, and then they're all yours. Thank you. What's up?

♪ Second that this world could give ♪

♪ I saw so many ♪

Graduates: 2019 List of Graduates (PDF)
Class Flower: Sunflower
Class Song: "I Lived" by One Republic
Class Animal: Goat

Top Students (Listed Alphabetically)

Michael Adams, Nicolas Berkopec, Madeleine Christison, Abigail Craff, Ishan Loomba, Russell Ludwigsen, Kioshi Morosin, Ruth Mueller, Alexander Rodriguez, Jaimasan Sutton

Special Thanks

Special thanks to: Veronica Lovato, Amanda Cortez, Zelma Medina, Nanette Grant, Yolan-da Herrera, Lupe Grado, Marianna Herrera, Harold Pope, and to everyone else on the ECA/CEC Team who helped make Commencement and all the Senior events a huge success.