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Rio Grande High School

Class of 2020 GraduationVirtual Graduation – June 28

The virtual graduation will be live at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 28.

Rio Grande Graduation Ceremony

Senior Celebration – May 13



RAQUEL REEDY, APS Superintendent: Hello, I’m Raquel Reedy Superintendent for the Albuquerque Public Schools. It breaks my heart not to be able to celebrate with you in person, but the coronavirus caused a postponement of our graduation schedule and there was absolutely nothing we could do to get around that. But I do have one thing to say. I am so proud of each and every one of you and your achievement. I also want to remind you that you are going to be forever remembered as the graduating class that thrived in the midst of a world pandemic. Now that’s something to talk about with your children and grandchildren. We would never let this week go by without figuring out a unique way to celebrate you. Let’s start with the National Anthem performed by Eldorado High School alum, who is an up and coming recording artist, Alex Stern. Alex?

ALEX STERN SINGS "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Francis Scott Key:

[SINGING]: ♪ Oh, say can you see ♪

♪ 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 rocket's red glare ♪

♪ The bombs bursting in air ♪

♪ Gave proof through the night ♪

♪ That our flag was still there ♪

♪ Oh, say does that star-spangled ♪

♪ Banner yet wave ♪

♪ O'er the land of the free ♪

♪ And the home of the brave ♪

DR. DAVID PEERCY, APS Board of Education, President: Our alums are amazing. I’m Dr. David Peercy, President of the APS Board of Education, and on behalf of your Board of Education, we salute you.

ELIZABETH ARMIJO, APS Board of Education, Chair: You selflessly accepted the last semester of your senior year...

CANDELARIA PATTERSON, APS Board of Education, Chair: ... without protest or complaints.

LORENZO GARCIA, APS Board of Education, Chair: Unfortunately, social distancing made it impossible to be with you as we would ordinarily in an auditorium...

BARBARA PETERSON, APS Board of Education, Chair: ... and that’s a big disappointment for us all.

PEGGY MULLER-ARAGÓN, APS Board of Education, Chair: We so wish things could be different.

YOLANDA MONTOYA-CORDOVA, APS Board of Education, Secretary: We can’t change our current situation, but we’re determined to celebrate you, and we’ve invited a few friends to help us do just that.

[TEXT ON SCREEN] An Exercise in Preparedness.

FATIMA, Highland High School: It may seem trivial to some people, and I understand that given all the pain and suffering in the world right now, but I’m 18 and so far, graduating from high school is the biggest accomplishment in my life.

ISAIAH, Atrisco Heritage Academy: No one in my APS Class of 2020 ever thought that we’d lose the last semester of our high school education to a deadly, invisible and relentless pandemic.

SYNDI, Cibola High School: And yet here we are.

JACK, La Cueva High School: Who would have known our final assignment would be an Exercise in Preparedness?

BRYAN CRANSTON, Actor: Hey, I bet you’re feeling a little crazy about now. Nervous. Months of isolation with mom and dad filling in the “friend” front. Board games, movie night, lots of healthy snacks, some unhealthy snacks, meaningful conversations. Tik Tok, dance moves with your mom, right? Anyway, I’m here to remind you that not everything is as it seems. Now, I’ve spent a few months, or years, in your city and I know a little something about the spirit of Albuquerque and its citizens and I know you’re gonna get through this. We all are going to get through this. Life is complicated. So you aren’t experiencing the tradition ceremony everyone expected, and wanted, but I’d argue that different is actually more memorable. Every graduation from every other generation has done the traditional graduation scene. You’re the exception. Don’t forget that. So, congratulations and best of luck on your own unique journey in life.

STEVEN MICHAEL QUEZADA, Actor/Commissioner: Hey Class of 2020 it’s me, Steven Michael Quezada. Hey, my friend, Bryan is right. Look, I’m extremely proud of you. You come from the Class of 2020, landmark number for all of us and you know you’re tougher than you think. You’ve been through a lot. We appreciate your dedication, to your future and just want to let you know there are people out here who are extremely proud of you. I used to sit on the Albuquerque Public School Board of Education and one of the greatest things that I was able to do, was to shake every graduating senior’s hand and I kinda missed that since I’ve become the County Commissioner, but that doesn’t mean I’m still not as proud as I was as a school board member. I’m very extremely proud of all of you and I think you should celebrate in any possible way that you can. I know you couldn’t celebrate in the regular way, but hey, you’re the Class of 2020 I know you’ll come up with something super cool.

GABRIELLE BURKHART, TV Reporter: The reports of mass shootings in movie theaters, malls, schools. It’s all tough stuff, but you got through it, and you will get through this too. It may not be what you expected, but you know what they say, difficult roads can lead to beautiful destinations.

GEORGE R. R. MARTIN, Novelist (Game of Thrones): I know it may seem hard to be sheltered away in quarantine on this pandemic, but when I contemplate that I think of what Richard Lovelace wrote many centuries ago with apologies for my tweak, “Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage; Minds innocent and quiet take that for hermitage. If I have freedom in my heart, in my thoughts and free, angels alone, that soar above, enjoy such liberty.” Your imagination is your greatest asset. It’s true this pandemic has limited us all in some ways, but it’s also taught us how to rely on our individual resources to stay engaged, healthy and hopeful.

DEVON SANDOVAL, NM United: New Mexico is all about great expectations.

TROY LESESNE, NM United: We know the day is near when we’re back on the field with all of you in the stands.

PETER TREVISANI, NM United: New Mexico United wants every graduate to know how proud we are for your strong and gracious finish to this leg of your educational journey.

CHRIS RAMIREZ, TV Reporter: I’m a reporter, not a fighter, but, I just fought and won a battle against the coronavirus. Sure, the virus was terrifying, but I’m here to tell you we’re going to be OK.

DR. BARRY RAMO, Medical Expert: Congratulations to you and your families. This graduation is unique in history, and I’m sure it’s one you’ll always remember. You’ve been sequestered for several months. Not being able to go out with your friends, staying at home, not going to parties, and now no formal graduation ceremony. But throughout all of this you’ve given us a present, a graduation present, that we really appreciate. You’ve given us our lives. By staying at home and following the rules you have made us in a safer environment so that your parents and grandparents and my family and I are safer and we thank you and New Mexico thanks you. But you’ve taken care of us, how about you taking care of yourself.

MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM, Governor of New Mexico: So, I encourage you to take some time now to figure out what you do have control over in your life and do the very best you can with that. Make your plans, celebrate your milestones, live your best days now – and try not to focus on the last season of sports, prom and senior activities that didn’t happen.

RYAN STEWART, NM Secretary of Education: And I want to remind you that the truth is, you know what you’ve accomplished. COVID-19 has taken away some rites-of-passage, but it doesn’t take away from all the hard work you put in to earn your diploma. Your family and friends still recognize your effort, and the hard work you put in and your determination. We all see who you’ve become. And you give us reason to hope.

JESSE TYLER FERGUSON, Actor: I think everyone you’ll hear from today agrees that every great generation has overcome adversity. If you have grandparents, ask them about that. We never know what world events will shape us, but those of you in the Class of 2020 have certainly seen your share.

DEB HAALAND, U.S. Representative: We all know this isn’t how you imagined your school years to end, but the friendships, memories and accomplishments will be yours forever.

ALEX BREGMAN, Houston Astros: Hey seniors I want you to know we’re counting on you. When times get tough, continue to pay it forward and be leaders in your community. We’re proud of you.

FORRIE J. SMITH, Actor (Yellowstone): Redefine world values so that everyone who contributes to a better world is considered essential. Thank you America’s young men and women. You are America’s future. God Bless.

BOB ODENKIRK, Actor (Better Call Saul): Here’s hoping your generation can bring us together and put an end to the hateful destructiveness that leads to the senseless loss of so many.

CHEVEL SHEPHERD, Singer: As a high school senior myself, I wonder, will it be our generation that lifts us up when we’re down, and comes together when needed most?

TIM KELLER, Mayor of Albuquerque: I believe so. On behalf of everyone who knows and loves our hometown of Albuquerque, I want to say congratulations to the Class of 2020. We can tell you from experience that some of your happiest days and moments to make memories are still ahead.

NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, Actor: So hold on, just a little bit longer. Before we celebrate your class, let’s remember words made famous by poet Maya Angelou – “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” Let’s do this! Here’s to every senior in the class of 2020!




[TEXT ON SCREEN] As the year comes to an end... we remember all of the things we were able to take part in... and even the things we weren't... but we will never forget the memories we made along the way. So here's to you!

[TEXT ON SCREEN] Rio Grande High School, Class of 2020.

[Montage of senior photos.]

[TEXT ON SCREEN] Congratulations!! We are so proud of you!! And now a special message from a special someone!

PRINCIPAL ANTOINETTE VALENZUELA: Welcome Class of 2020! As your principal and Rio Alum, it is with great excitement and pride that I get to recognize you for reaching your goal of successfully completing high school. You all have a special place in my heart being my first graduating class. I know that this is not the way we all envisioned your senior year to end, but I want to say that you all have embraced this situation with grace and flexibility. This speaks volumes about your class. You are a class of great leaders, strong voices, passion for what you believe in, resiliency to take each step forward with no fear, and love for each other. We are Rio Strong. To reach this goal of graduation there have been many people that have helped you along the way. I want to thank your families for being a loving support and for creating amazing young adults. They have given you strength to make it this far. Then your educational journey began at the elementary level This was the building blocks or the base to your education. Then on to middle school, I can guess was an adventure. You were taught content specific learning, had adolescent behaviors, and awkward looking yearbook pictures. I know this to be true because I too had a funny looking picture with a perm. You guys don’t know about that, but many of your parents do. Then came high school. I can imagine you being scared when you first walked through the new 9th grade academy doors as the underclassmen. You led the way for future Ravens. Always remember the memories you made with your Rio Grande family; lots of learning, building character, walking in the hallways, eating lunch in the commons, drama performances, band playing music, homecoming, prom, assemblies, cheering on the sport teams, playing sports and the list goes on and on. Then your Senior year rolled around, and you were the true leaders of the school. Even though you are not in the building I can hear the hum of laughs, conversations, hellos, good mornings, have a good day Ms. You are the true spirit of Rio Grande High School. As your teachers, staff, administration we are all proud to have been part of your high school journey. Your class song is Rascall Flatts, “My Wish.” I have reached out to all the people that have been part of your journey. The people you love have sent their well wishes as you begin a new journey. Your families wish to you: Determination, joy, success, strength, passion, laughter, love, wisdom, motivation. On your journey Class of 2020. Armijo Elementary wish to you. Congratulations Rio Grande High School Class of 2020. Armijo Elementary is proud of you. Ernie Pyle Middle School wish to you: Ernie Pyle loves our 2020 Rio Grande High School Seniors. We know you are our future and we’re in good hands. Somos Familia. Once a Warrior, Always a Warrior. Polk Middle School wish to you is: Remember students, your teachers believe in you and our leadership believes in you… together we are achieving success. Love and miss you all! Rio Grande teachers and staff wish to you is: Congrats Ravens Class of 2020! We are proud of you! Your administrator’s wish to you is: Find your fire. Never stop growing. Bigger & better challenges that lead to opportunities and success. You can & you will. You are our future leaders. With that, I look forward to seeing all the accomplishments and the paths that each of you will take. Embrace the successes, learn from your mistakes, but never stop doing what you love. Whatever you dream to be, know that you can and will accomplish that goal. It is your time to spread your wings and begin your new journey. As a raven, you will soar above. Make your mark in the world. You will always have a home at the Raven’s Nest. You have an entire team cheering you on looking to see what you accomplish. We look forward to hearing your success stories. With pride, heart, and desire I am proud to congratulate the Class of 2020. Go Ravens!


[TEXT ON SCREEN] Congratulations to every senior in the Class of 2020!


[TEXT ON SCREEN] Executive Producer, Monica Armenta. Associate Producers, Daniel Torres and Aaron Giombolini. Written by Monica Armenta. Editors, Aaron Giombolini and Daniel Torres. Motion Graphics, Brian Beeler. High School Casting: Jeanine Chavez, Justin Landis, Lacee Manus, and Jessica Martinez. Video Support: Aaron Jaramillo.

[TEXT ON SCREEN] Cast, in order of Appearance: APS Superintendent, Raquel Reedy. Recording Artist, Alex Stern. APS BOE President, Dr. David Peercy. APS Boe Member, Elizabeth Armijo. APS BOE Member, Candelaria Patterson. APS BOE Vice President, Lorenzo L. Garcia. APS BOE Member, Barbara Peterson. APS BOE Member, Peggy Muller-Aragon. APS BOE Secretary, Yolanda Montoya-Cordova. HS Senior, Fatima Olivas. HS Senior, Isaiah Manzanares. HS Senior, Syndi Burrup. HS Senior, Jack Muirhead. Actor, Bryan Cranston. Actor, Steven Michael Quezada. Special Assignment Reporter, Gabrielle Burkhart. Novelist, George R.R. Martin. NM United Player, Devon Sandoval. NM United Head Coach, Troy Lesesne. NM United Owner, Peter Trevisani. Investigative Reporter, Chris Ramirez. Medical Expert, Dr. Barry Ramo. NM Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham. NM Public Education Secretary, Ryan Stewart. Actor, Jesse Tyler Ferguson. US Representative, Deb Haaland. Professional Baseball Player, Alex Bregman. Actor, Forrie J. Smith. Actor, Bob Odenkirk. Singer, Chevel Shepherd. Albuquerque Mayor, Tim Keller. Actor, Neil Patrick Harris.

[TEXT ON SCREEN] Special Thanks to the Production Committee: Johanna King, Joseph Escobedo, Dr. Kris Meurer, Dr. Richard Bowman, Christy Albright, Chelanna Carter, Shannon Barnhill, Aaron Jaramillo, Daniel Torres, Aaron Giombolini, Brian Beeler, Camille Pansewicz, Sal Gonzales.

[TEXT ON SCREEN] Music Provided by Epidemic Sound.

"Hustle in silence and let your success speak for itself."
— Author Unknown

  • Class Flower: Red Hibiscus
  • Class Song: "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts