nex+Gen Academy

Albuquerque Public Schools Graduation 2019

nex+Gen Academy Class of 2019

Monday, May 13 at 1:30 p.m.
Berna Facio Professional Development Complex

nex+Gen Academy Graduation Transcript

- [Man] Of allegiance.

- [Woman] Raise colors. Forward march.

- [Man] Stand on my left.

- [Woman] Color Guard halt. Southern face. Present colors.

- [Man] I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

(repeats pledge in Spanish)

- [Woman] Left face. Forward march. Color Guard halt. Order colors.

DAVID LYNCH: You may now be seated. I am sure that over the last four years at nex+Gen you have heard many times about our third pillar, responsibility. However, I'm not sure that you've heard how much transformative power, taking responsibility can bring to you. Do you remember the first time you were given an important responsibility, and you were able to rise to the occasion? I certainly do. I remember my first job, and being given the responsibility of driving the forklift. It was a big step up from stacking lumber. I did not have one accident, and I didn't damage any product, well maybe just a little product, but not a lot of product. The feeling of accomplishment, pride, self confidence, that's the part I remember. Responsibility will do that for you. It is the point where you take control of some aspect of your life and then the outcome of that becomes yours. Chase those feelings. You will run into many people on your journey who are desperate to find the path that will make them happy.

Unfortunately happiness is an elusive state of mind, as you probably already know, it is very difficult to identify what will make you happy, and how to make it more than just a fleeting emotion. Taking responsibility on the other hand will give you predictable results. You will feel that sense of accomplishment and pride. Your belief in yourself will grow. The range of what you believe is possible in your life will expand, in short, it's a better investment. Take a moment and think of someone in your life that you truly admire. In my case I think of my grandfather. I bet I know something about the person that you have in mind, I bet they pushed themselves, I bet they strived to achieve some sort of goal, I bet they provided a model for others to follow, I promise you that person took responsibility for themselves and others. When you walk through that door, a new chapter will begin. Don't miss it. It is an incredible opportunity to make changes. Start by examining each area of your life and take personal responsibility for as much of it as you possibly can.

Remember from here forward, there is very little that will happen to you that you did not have a hand in. Never complain about or blame others for the obstacles that are before you. It signals that you are waiting for someone else to solve these problems. And what is worse, is it will make you miserable. Your job, your boss, your significant other, your friends, the city you live in, all of these things you control. Take responsibility for them. Manage them, develop a plan, make the necessary changes, get it done. When you take responsibility the door of reflection opens.

Reflection is the only way to learn from your experiences and become the person you want to be. It enables you to become the protagonist of your own story, I want that for you. I have no idea what will make you happy, and I doubt at this point you do either. But by taking responsibility for every aspect of your life you will give yourself a much better chance of figuring it out. Good luck, we will miss you.

(audience applauding)

RYIL ADAMSON: The nex+Gen valedictorian for the class of 2019 is Alana Tobias. Alana Tobias is the daughter of Matthew and Carolyn Tobias. Alana will attend the University of New Mexico next fall. In addition to her school accomplishments, Alana just graduated from the preprofessional dance program at the Cosette Dance Studio. In fact we took a senior field trip last fall to see her dance the role of Alice in "Alice in Wonderland." Alana feels like her greatest accomplishment over the last four years is coming into her own, learning to be herself.

The nex+Gen salutatorian for the class of 2019 is Jeffery Micono. Jeffery Micono is the son of Jeffrey Micono and Ellen Shepherd. Jeffrey recently developed a Discord bot that people can use for remote communication. It is currently being used by over 100,000 people worldwide. Not surprisingly, Jeffrey will attend New Mexico Tech in the fall. Jeffrey cited finishing high school and setting himself up for success is his greatest accomplishment over the last four years. 

It's not easy to earn an academic ranking this high. We know this is true because it's not easy to go to high school at all. High school life is hard. With just the social stuff alone, high school students learn to drive, to date, and to work, it's actually not fair how much we give them to master in only four years. Then on top of all the rest of it, there are academics. That part of high school is hard too. In fact it might be harder than any other school they're gonna go to next. Dr. Richard Lavoie, one of the great educational minds of our era, once remarked that "High school is the last time you have to be good at everything. We make them take all the subjects, even the ones they don't really like."

To go through all that then and still earn grades like theirs is an amazing feat. It impresses us so much, we're gonna give them a title and ask them to make a speech. Ladies and gentlemen, Jeffrey Micono's title is Salutatorian, and it's his turn to give a speech now, please welcome Jeffrey.

(audience applauding)

JEFFREY MICONO: Thank you Dr. A. In his TED Talk entitled "The Agony of Trying to Unsubscribe," James Veitch said and I quote, "Anything, everything, even something as mundane as getting out of a car, can be fun if you find the right game." He is, without a doubt, completely correct. Going to school by itself isn't anywhere near the list of my top of activities, but going to school and having fun simultaneously sounds like something I'm willing to do a little more frequently. Now ordinarily I'd give my challenge to the audience near the end of my speech, but it's a little more fitting here at the beginning. I challenge the class of 2019 and everyone listening to this speech to find a way to spice up the monotony of everyday life. 

For those of you that need inspiration or wish to expand upon the ideas you just thought of in the time it took me to say that last sentence, here are the best games the class of 2019 has played during the course of our 4 years. In freshman year, clapping at everything was huge. Someone (coughs) Trenton would fall off their chair and rather than doing the normal human thing of making sure they're okay, a storm of applause would start. This didn't just happen in classrooms, though it continued into the common area during lunch. Frequently, a single kid would be able to start clapping and within seconds the entire lunchroom would be clapping with them. Nobody knew what they were clapping for, but it was a splash of entertainment randomly inserted throughout the day. The clapping wasn't the only form of random entertainment throughout the day. One kid would just yell "enthusiasm"

- [Fletcher] Enthusiasm!

(audience laughing and applauding)

JEFFREY MICONO: Thank you Fletcher. As we continued our journey through nex+Gen, we became more sophisticated, and the games we played reflected that transformation. At one point, every single whiteboard-marker-friendly surface had a red stick figure drawn on it. When there were no more clean surfaces to write on, people started writing on post-it notes and sticking them to the walls, the ceiling, chairs, you name it. One time I opened up my computer and found a stick figure on a sticky note. In this case, all we needed to keep ourselves entertained was something as simple as drawing a stick figure, I think that's something we can all do.

In junior year, we crossed that threshold of being more comfortable messing with teachers, and so a lot of our games began to include them. The most notorious of course was the circle game, where you have to try to get someone to look at one of these while it's below your waist. If they do, you get to punch them in the arm and wipe it off. I have a lot of fond memories of punching teachers in the arm after they looked at my hand, and a few of getting punched by teachers, most notably Ms. Davis, for looking at their hand.

(audience laughing)

Hiding technology and having it make noise was another fantastic game. One time, Ebin took his phone and hid it under some papers on Mr. Potter's desk while Mr. Potter was out of the room. When Mr. Potter returned, and started working on some grading Ebin used his Apple Watch's find my iPhone feature to make the phone make noise, while it was on Mr. Potter's desk. It took Mr. Potter a few minutes to find the phone, but he laughed about it once he found it. Another time, a few of us calc kids took a small Bluetooth speaker and hid it in a tissue box and then we had it play music at a very low level throughout the entirety of class. It took Ms. Haack a good 15 minutes to find it and, when she first heard it, she thought it might have been coming from outside. She even went as far as opening the window and sticking her head out in attempt to find the source of the sound.

Now I've been told our senior prank was one of the best at nex+Gen Academy, and I can't begin to describe everything that happened, but as part of it, we had some students dress up as teachers, like at nex+Gen Academy. You know Fletcher, who just yelled enthusiasm dressed up as Mr. Steele and walked around carrying a coffee cup all day, it was amazing. But that wasn't the only awesome thing about that, because on a total whim, those who dressed up as senior teachers started teaching the senior classes. You know the teachers had no idea that their evil twins were going to be showing up that day but they all were fantastic sports about it and they changed everyone's schedule to accommodate it. 

So what's my point in telling you about all this? One more time I want to say this, anything in life can be fun if you find the right game to play. Sometimes, the creativity needed to come up with those games or apply them can be hard to come by. But I think it's something that we all can do. Learn from the imagination and uniqueness of the class of 2019 and let me restate this, find a way to spice up the monotony of everyday life.

Class of 2019, congratulations on making it to graduation. I'm so proud of each and every one of you, and I believe these past 4 years have given you the skills you need to succeed in whatever you set your mind to. Don't stop the games, don't stop memeing, good luck, and have fun.

(audience applauding)

RYIL ADAMSON: Alana Tobias is next, her title is valedictorian, please welcome Alana Tobias.

(audience applauding)

ALANA TOBIAS: Thank you Dr. A. Natural Selection, the process by which favorable traits and characteristics of a population are selected for over time. Four years ago, over one-hundred young, naive, and hopeful freshmen walked through the doors of nex+Gen. Today, almost eighty wiser, stronger, and more resilient seniors sit before you to celebrate the favorable traits and characteristics that enabled us to accomplish one of life's greatest feats, high school.

These students comprising nex+Gen's biggest graduating class, the Class of 2019, are some of the most unique and diverse people I have ever met. From the beginning, our fiery personalities established us as a force to be reckoned with. We are a group of people who made it our mission to be known by name across all grade levels. We set out to change the school, not just have attended it, and we purposed to leave its doors having made it nearly impossible to ever be forgotten.

Individually, we have all contributed something to this group that has turned us a well-oiled machine, a creative powerhouse, a supercomputer of intelligent minds that have all worked together to be better than we could have been separately. We are passionate and hungry. Hungry for knowledge that will drive us forward and develop our minds to think differently about ourselves and the world around us. Our class was great at dragging out the Reeces' lectures with questions. Many of them further informing us on the content, but some of them just enough related to where we could spin the conversation off topic and accidentally not have enough time to move on to the assignment they had planned, oops.

We are stubborn. Always questioning the knowledge that is presented to us, challenging it with our own thoughts and beliefs to further craft our ideals and values. From debates that border-lined arguments in Concentric Democracy, to period seven Chemistry, or really any class with Austin Kirin for that matter, we always found a way to poke academic holes in each other and it made us better students because of it. 

We are creative. The skill sets, and talents that these people possess never cease to blow my mind. Our capability to think both logically and creatively has allowed us to produce many out-of-the-box final products that we can be so proud of, such as our films in Computer Graphics, hand-crafted artifacts in American History and even a functioning card game in World Studies. Our coupled artistic and rational minds set us apart as well-rounded individuals that can analyze and problem solve any situation that comes our way. 

We are driven and hardworking. Very few obstacles have been able to hold us back. We have mastered the ability to have a good time, but we also buckle down and get our work done when the time calls for it. We coupled NaNoWriMo with epic forts and managed to get a Nerf bullet stuck on the teacher's lounge window while somehow also writing thirty thousand-word novels. We inflated bouncy castles in the Cyber Hall for Senior Prank and successfully distracted the other school kids while we dutifully attended our classes, only slightly sad they appeared to be having more fun.

As Jeffrey mentioned, we are goofy. With no other individuals have I laughed the hardest than with the people who join me here today. I have many memories of crying so hard from the ridiculous things that we said and found funny over the years. I remember always cracking up so hard in Art and Mrs. Parker eagerly letting us work in the Cyber Hall any time we asked. Coincidence? There were many late night FaceTime calls that started as a collaboration on homework and always ended in me laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. And there was even the annoying airdropping of memes during class that always had someone laughing under their breaths and greatly confused the teachers.

We are uplifting. The unwavering support I have seen you all give to each other and to me is priceless. Every single one of us could share at least one unique thing about every other person in our class. We care for one another, we have purposed to get to know each other, and we want everyone to succeed. We are real humans. Our class has done well to defy the stereotype that nex+Gen is the little building behind Del Norte or a school simply for nerds. While that might not be a far-off adjective for some of us, we are not incapable of connecting to others from a social and emotional standpoint.

We have big hearts! Our capability to be cool as well as nerdy, destroys any labels we might receive from those who don't know the complexity of who we are. Our class' party animals attend Game Nights and the computer nerds are caught breaking it down at Homecoming. But truly, our distinct lack of divided cliques has made our class very accepting and encouraging of everyone, nerdy or not!

Finally, we are a family. No better word could possibly describe the Class of 2019, but that we are family. We love each other, sometimes hate each other, often times simply just tolerate each other, but at the end of the day, we have always been there for one another, no matter what. From playing Ninja every week in Garcia's advisory, to paper soccer on the tables behind Mr. Smo's back. From constantly laughing under our breaths at Profe Carlos' awkward attendance calls, to begging White and Steele for a 5-minute break to go outside as if we were seven years old, we have gone through so much good and bad together but have always found a way to make the most of everything as a collaborative group. These traits and characteristics have led us here to graduation, although not without its challenges. Graduation was something that at one point or another all of us likely questioned if it would ever come. Don't tell me you haven't thought at 2:00 am in the morning, "One more packet of annotations might be the death of me!" Or my personal favorite, "Why in the world did I leave this to the very last minute?"

Regardless, we overcame. Although it seems like everything we have worked for our whole lives has culminated to this one moment, our lives are only just beginning. Today we close one tiny chapter from our book to look ahead and find that there is still a novel ahead of us that has yet to be written. As intimidating and exciting as this is, I encourage you to leap full force into the unknown. We have acquired many experiences and gained many tools thus far that will enable us to discover who we are and what our place in this world is. We are on the cusp of making a difference and we have to believe that! May we be the generation who believes that we have a purpose, believes we have potential!

If the 80 of us each reach 10 people, that is 800 people who have been positively impacted. If those 800 people reach 10 more people, then 8,000 people are manifesting good within this world. Those 8,000 people turn into 80,000, 800,000, eight million people and it all starts with you. The amount of power we have to truly make a difference is not as far away as it may seem. We have worked so hard and come so far. Don't let this be the end. As we head off onto the next pathway of our journey, may we fearlessly crave more knowledge, stubbornly question information that is fed to us, and creatively problem solve every situation we encounter, purposing to laugh and love the little things every single day. May we continue to uplift those around us, never shy away from the emotions that make us human, and may we always find a family of people to stand by through the thick and the thin. This is only just the beginning.

I would like to say a big thank you to our teachers for investing in us as learners and as individuals and for always treating us like young adults with infinite potential. You were an essential part in this journey for us and your teachings and wisdom we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. Thank you nex+Gen for allowing us to be a part of a culture that encouraged us to be ourselves. Thank you for requiring the absolute best of us and giving us an environment that was conducive to achievement and learning.

Finally, thank you to my peers for accepting me for who I am. For allowing me to make mistakes and grow into the person I am today. You have given me memories of a lifetime and each and every one of you holds a special place in my heart. I am forever grateful. Congratulations Class of 2019. We have made it. Here's to how far we have come and cheers to how far we are going to go!

Thank you.

(audience applauding)

DAVID LYNCH: Thank you valedictorians. I would like to ask board members, Dr. Peercy, Miss Muller-Aragon, and Miss Pearson to come forward please. Superintendent Reedy, Dr. Peercy, Miss Muller-Aragon, Miss Patterson, I would like to present to you the class of 2019. They have met all the graduation requirements as set forth by the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education, along with the New Mexico Public Education Department. To you, I present the nex+Gen Academy class of 2019.

(audience applauding)

BOARD MEMBER DAVID PEERCY: You know I was part of the original development of the nex+Gen Academy, Nex plus Gen Academy I always call it. And so really on behalf of the Albuquerque Public Board of Education, it's really all of our honor to accept this wonderful class of 2019 from Nex plus Gen Academy. So thank you, congratulations.

(audience applauding)

DAVID LYNCH: All right, with that I'd like to introduce Miss Reece.

BOARD MEMBER BARBARA PETERSON: Would you like us to go back to the stage?

DAVID LYNCH: I think so yeah.

("Pomp and Circumstance" by Edward Elgar)

- [Amy] Jesus A. Aguilar.

(audience applauding)

Corrina J. Angel.

(audience applauding)

Theresa G. Apodaca.

(audience applauding)

Tegan Apostle.

(audience applauding)

Savannah Baca.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Rebecca L. Barkley.

(audience applauding)

Justin C. Bejcek.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Layton M. Blackmon.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Kylie Bowling.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Cole Burke.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Tucker A. Burnett.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Jonae U. Carriaga.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Aaliyah M. Castillo.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Patrick N. Chavez.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Sofia G. Chavez.

(audience applauding)

Kamirah Cruz.

(audience applauding and cheering)

- [Woman] Trinity De Vargas.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Quentin P. Dye.

(audience applauding)

Nicholas Edwards.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Edgar Enriquez.

(audience applauding and cheering)

D'Etta N. Farmer.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Giavanna N. Gonzales.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Wesley M. Gordon.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Nicole Granone.

(audience applauding)

Reia K. Gray.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Maliah R. Hansana.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Rudolpho A. Herrera.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Auric S. Hewitt.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Ehren H. Hillmeyer.

(audience applauding)

Robert Holloman.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Raymond A. Hyde III.

(audience applauding)

Gavin B. Jarvies.

(audience applauding and cheering)

- [Man] Nathan R. Kaplan.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Kailie Z. Kentopp.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Nathan King.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Owen King.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Austin S. Kirin.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Daphne Law.

(audience applauding)

Alisia M. Lee.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Ariana Lopez.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Elizabeth Lopez.

(audience applauding)

Miguel Magallanes.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Jeffrey H. Micono.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Nicholas V. Miller.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Ethan B. Oesch.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Destiny Olivarez.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Munia M. Omer.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Micheal P. Pavelko.

(audience applauding and cheering)

- [Man] Josiah C. Payne.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Kristen A. Payne.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Martin R. Quintana.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Nathan Reyes.

(audience applauding)

Ebin L. Roache.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Justin D. Roblyer-Barraza.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Ross V. Romero.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Desmond T. Rowley.

(audience applauding)

Carlos F. Salazar.

(audience applauding)

Chase R. Sanchez.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Elias Sanchez.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Marissa R. Sanchez.

(audience applauding and cheering)

James F. Schneider.

(audience applauding)

Quinn A. Smith.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Leanne E. Sprouse.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Aidan M. Stewart.

(audience applauding)

Alana Tobias.

(audience applauding)

Domanique A. Valles.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Sebastian J. Vaughan.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Stephanie D. Vela.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Carla Venegas.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Zachary F. Vigil.

(audience applauding)

Lux C. Vossen.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Kristen M. Vukcevich.

(audience applauding)

Fletcher Wallace-Hente.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Kayla Westerfield.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Jesse Wirth.

(audience applauding)

Chloe C. Wolne.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Elijah Woltz.

(audience applauding)

Alexander F. Wylde.

(audience applauding and cheering)

DAVID LYNCH: Class of 2019, as you stand at the finish line, know that you have not run the race alone. Your teachers have been there for you every step of the way to guide and encourage you. Would the teachers please stand for a round of applause?

(audience applauding and cheering)

Graduates, share this moment of success with your parents. They have been there to support you through both challenges and victories. No job is more challenging or more important. Would our parents rise for a round of applause.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Class of 2019, please stand.

(audience applauding and cheering)

Move your tassels from right to left.

(audience applauding and cheering)

I am confident to send you off today to be the creators of a new tomorrow. Know that my best wishes go with you. Everyone please rise as our graduates now process out. We can all join them in the northwest corner of the parking lot after their last class picture.

♪ Is this the real life? ♪ (audience cheering)

♪ Is this just fantasy? ♪

♪ Caught in a landslide ♪

♪ No escape from reality ♪

♪ Open your eyes ♪

♪ Look up to the skies and see ♪

♪ I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy ♪

♪ Because I'm easy come, easy go ♪

♪ A little high, little low ♪

♪ Anyway the wind blows, ♪

♪ doesn't really matter to me, to me ♪

♪ Mama, just killed a man ♪

♪ Put a gun against his head ♪

♪ Pulled my trigger, now he's dead ♪

♪ Mama, life had just begun ♪

♪ But now I've gone and thrown it all away ♪

♪ Mama, oh oh ♪

♪ Didn't mean to make you cry ♪

♪ If I'm not back again this time tomorrow ♪

♪ Carry on, carry on, ♪

♪ as if nothing really matters ♪

♪ Too late, my time has come ♪

♪ Sends shivers down my spine ♪

♪ Body's aching all the time ♪

♪ Goodbye everybody I've got to go ♪

♪ Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth ♪

♪ Mama, oh oh ♪

♪ Anyway the wind blows ♪

♪ I don't want to die ♪

♪ Sometimes wish I'd never been born at all ♪

nex+Gen Academy Class of 2019 Commencement Information

Special Guests:

  • APS Leadership: David Peercy, Peggy Muller-Aragon, Raquel Reedy
  • APS Board Members: Barbara Peterson, Candelaria Patterson
  • Special Guests: Michael Stanton, Kevin Gant, Aimee Milazzo
  • Valedictorian: Alana Tobias
  • Salutatorian: Jeffery Micono

Graduates:

2019 List of Graduates (PDF)

Commencement Program

  • Processional: "Pomp and Circumstance," Edward Elgar
  • Welcome and Introductions: David Lunch, Principal
  • Presentation of Colors: Del Norte 51 AFJROTC
  • Graduate Address: David Lynch, Principal
  • Introduction of Speakers: Introduced by Ryil Adamson
    • Salutatorian Address: Jeffery Micono
    • Valedictorian Address: Alana Tobias
  • Presentation of the Class of 2019: David Lynch, Principal with Readers: Amy Reece, Laura White, Ryil Adamson, Michael Steele, Cat Reece
  • Closing: David Lynch, Principal
  • Recessional: "Bohemian Rhapsody," Queen