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Rio Grande High School

Albuquerque Public Schools Graduation 2019

Rio Grande High School Class of 2019

Tuesday, May 14 at 6:30 p.m.
Tingley Coliseum at Expo New Mexico

Rio Grande Graduation Transcript

AMANDA DEBELL: Good evening. Tonight we are here for a very special celebration, and it is the request of Rio Grande High School administration that we honor and recognize each graduate. Most of you are here today to celebrate the accomplishments of one graduate special to you. Please allow those around you to celebrate their special graduate, and kindly be reminded to refrain from excessive cheering and the use of noisemakers, so that each graduate's name may be heard and honored by the family and friends. Ladies and gentlemen, please rise, and please remain standing for the presentation of colors by our own Marine Corps JROTC. This evening, the national anthem is being performed by flautists Makayla Martinez and Jonathan Murillo. Gentlemen, please remove your caps at this time, and please remain standing until the colors have left the arena floor. Thank you Makayla and Jonathan. Gentlemen, you may now re-don your caps. And Class of 2019, please be seated.

JESSICA LUEVANO: Good evening. I'm Jessica Luevano, Class of 2019's president. Welcome to the Rio Grande High School Class of 2019 Commencement Ceremony. In addition, we are celebrating Rio Grande High School's 60 year anniversary. It is my honor to introduce to you our platform guests. Albuquerque Public School associate superintendent for leadership and learning, zone two, Dr. Antonio Gonzales. APS Board of Education Members Candelaria Patterson and Yolanda Montoya‐Cordova. Senator Michael Padilla. Our principal, Amanda DeBell. Assistant principals Anthony Branch, Benjamin Garcia, and Thomas Piper. Our deans of students, Veronica Valencia and Michelle Morris. Our Senior Class sponsor, Mrs. Barrett, also known as Ms. Archuleta. Valedictorian, Alicia Tafoya. Salutatorian and student body present, Laura, president, sorry. Laura Latisa Medrano Rodriguez. Student Body vice president, Shykah Marquez. Senior Class vice president, Amy Hernandez. Student Body president-elect, Cesar Chaparro. Student Body vice president-elect, Selena Perea. And again, myself, Senior Class president, Jessica Luevano. Our first graduate speaker plans to go to UNM, and hopes to become a cardiac surgeon. Please welcome Fernando Carrillo.

FERNANDO CARRILLO: Hello fellow graduates of 2019, and distinguished guests. I stand before you today, humbled by this great opportunity to speak to my class. Now in these two short minutes, I'm supposed to leave more than 200 people inspired. I think that is a harder task to achieve than passing those dreaded AP tests. Friends, as our last year comes to a close, there is one question that is in our minds. What do I do from here? As a fellow classmate who has this same question, I advise you to do these following things as you plan out your future. Number one, dream big, but make sure those dreams have goals, because what our generation seems to do a lot of is confuse movement with progress. For example, I remember the first day I saw The Avengers. I jumped from the couch as I turned to my mom and said, mom, I want to be a superhero. And she said, "Son, grow up. "You graduate in two weeks." That dream was shot down, so now I guess I'll stick with being a surgeon. Number two, do not settle just because the people around you could not do it. Try and try and try again, as many times as it takes to achieve your dream, because as long as you do not give up on yourself, there will never have, you'll always have a shot at success. Number three, if the time comes when it seems that you can't seem to succeed, do not get down on yourself, because it is not from success that we learn, but it is from failures that we learn and evolve from. Number four, do not get distracted by others people's success, or apparent success, because social media only shows you what people want you to see. Now, as I conclude this speech, I want to leave you with two quotes from two of my biggest inspirations in life. As Rocky Balboa once said, "Ain't nobody going to hit hard as life, "but winning is not about how hard you can hit back, "but it's about how hard you can get hit "and keep moving forward, and that is how winning is done." And as our generation is driven by monetary gain, I leave you with this quote from the street philosopher Drake, "I guess you lose some and win some. "As long as the outcome is income, "you know I want it all and then some." Class of 2019, shoot for the top of the world and never be forgotten.

SHYKAH MARQUEZ: We now are honored to welcome our Bilingual Seal representatives, Jasmin Garcia-Montes and Sonia Zavala Barreras. Jasmin plans on attending UNM to study criminology, Sonia plans on attending UNM to become a radiologic technician. Please welcome our bilingual representatives.

JASMIN GARCIA: Good afternoon. We are here today to represent the Bilingual Seal Program. My name is Jasmin Garcia, and here with me is Sonia Zavala Barreras. We are the two recipients of the Bilingual Seal of Distinction, something we are very privileged and honored to receive because of our hard work, determination, and vision. Fellow Bilingual Seal recipients, we all worked hard to obtain our Bilingual Seal. We made sacrifices and spent our spring break working hard, writing essays, doing community service hours, portfolios, and PowerPoint presentations to meet the deadline. You guys must all remember Snapchatting each other in the middle of the night, trying to figure out what we needed to finish, and how the day before our presentation, we couldn't sleep because we were nervous, but even after all that work, we never gave up. We all had one goal, and that was to obtain our Bilingual Seal. Guys, we did it. Now we are here proudly representing our Hispanic culture and making our parents very proud, as well as our peers and our teachers.

SONIA ZAVALA BARRERAS: The bilingual program has allowed us to meet new people and be more involved within our community. We have learned to love volunteering and helping others. We wouldn't have been able to accomplish this without our mentors, family, and peers supporting us throughout the process. So thank you all for supporting us in this rigorous journey of our high school career, and the Bilingual Seal path. We would like to thank all the students, parents, and staff here today, and for supporting us throughout the whole process. Students, just remember our journey starts now. We need to put our Bilingual Seal to use. As we conclude, we would like to recognize the fellow Bilingual Seal recipients. Those receiving the Bilingual Seal, please stand up to be recognized. Ladies and gentlemen, the 2018-2019 Rio Grande High School Bilingual Seal recipients. Please have a seat.

- [Both] Thank you.

JESSICA LUEVANO:  It is my honor to introduce your 2019 valedictorian. She plans to go to UNM in the fall, and hopes to become a neurologist. She should like to be remembered for her intelligence and hard work. Please welcome Alicia Tafoya.

ALICIA TAFOYA: What feels like the end is often the beginning. While the majority of us are sad about the ending of this chapter of our lives, we must remember that the ending of one chapter leads to the beginning of another. I've known some of you my whole life, and some of you, I've just met last year. But in the time we were together, we made memories that we will cherish for a lifetime. The last four years have been both the best and worst of our lives, and now we're on to a new chapter, that will also have its highs and lows. And if you got through that one, you can get through the next. A big part of the reason why I'm here today is because of my family. My Mamo, Nina, grandma and grandpa, my Nino, because I wouldn't have been able to do any of this without them. And I'd also like to thank my best friends for always being there when I needed it, for making me laugh, and for all the great memories. And of course, my classmates, who made me feel better about procrastinating because everyone else procrastinated too. And I could never forget Mr. Kornegay, for always being my biggest fan, even before I took his class. Hopefully one day, we make him proud and become millionaires. And if not, I'm sure he'll still be at least a little proud. Regardless of what you all decide to do in life, I know it'll be great, and I wish you the best of luck. And remember, as a wise woman once said, "If you're not cheating, you're not trying."

AMANDA DEBELL: I don't know about that, Miss Tafoya. Class of 2019, last week, no, two weeks ago, was prom, and the prom theme this year was really cool. It was To the Moon and Back. What a fun night that we had at the museum. I want you to imagine that for a second. Going to the moon and back. It's hard to think of how few people will ever experience that, but it is a great dream. This year as you, Class of 2019, get ready to walk across this stage, think of a dream that you have. What is that dream? What is it that you want to experience? What is your to the moon and back? Maybe your dream is actually to go to the moon. Maybe your dream is to be a pilot, a train engineer, an accountant, a software engineer, a game designer, a coffee barista, or perhaps your dream is to become a mother or a father. How about a teacher? Maybe you have a dream to climb Mt. Everest, or to explore the bottom of the ocean. There are endless possibilities for what can happen with the rest of your life. And now it is up to you to start working on your next step. What is important as you move out of high school and on to the next chapter of your life, is that you dream. As you go after your dreams, know that life itself wants you to find your dreams, and then know this. That a dream doesn't become reality through magic. It takes sweat, determination and hard work. No cheating, Alicia. That is a quote that is said by the former Secretary of State, Colin Powell. He said it and it's true. You must work to achieve your dreams. You must give dreams everything you've got. You must strive. To get to the moon and back, you must have a plan. Hard work is something that you all know. You have had to put in sweat and tears in getting to these very chairs that you are sitting in right now. Maybe you had to re-do a test. Maybe you had to read and re-read a paragraph 20 times before you really, truly understood. Maybe you had to go to tutoring, stay after school, or stay up texting everybody that you know to find someone who could help. Whatever it was, your hard work has paid off in earning credits for graduation today. Often times, you have to literally sweat to get your moon and back. That sweat may actually be physical sweat. Maybe you have to exercise in order to accomplish your goals. But really, your sweat might be figurative. Ask yourselves, how do you persevere to get where you are? Lastly, I want you to know that hard work is important. You all have what it takes in order to put in the hard work. After all, you're graduating, and many of you already have some plans. Hard work makes you stronger. It demonstrates fortitude. Each of you has the ability to achieve your dreams because take a look around. 240 of you, to be exact, are here because you determined that today was the day, and voila. Here you are, your last day of high school. Graduation. Here is what I say. Dream big, and when your dream becomes a reality, then start dreaming again. Allow yourself time to dream. You can daydream, night dream, you can even dream while you're driving to work. Get your to moon and back. And in the famous words of Buzz Lightyear, "To infinity and beyond." You've got this Class of 29, to the moon and back. And now, I know this is what we've all been waiting for. I would like to present the Class of 2019. School Board members, Candelaria Patterson and Ms. Yolanda Montoya‐Cordova, the graduates seated before you have met the graduation requirements that are set forth by the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education, along with the New Mexico Public Education Department. To you, I present the Class of 2019.

BOARD MEMBER YOLANDA MONTOYA-CORDOVA: Congratulations. Home of the Ravens. Rio Grande High School, my home. I'm a Rio Grande graduate too, and it gives me, yeah. Go Ravens! And guess what? Your school's as old as I am. So I just have a couple of notes. I just want you to remember, you are never alone. Be authentic, live your dreams, be proud of who you are, but remember where you come from. South Valley pride. Ms. DeBell, as a member of the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education, we accept this Class of 2019. Go Ravens.

AMANDA DEBELL: Excellent. Go Ravens!

- [Woman] So then just like, just like look at each other and make sure they know when to switch, yeah?

- [Man] One 1,000, Two 1,000, Three 1,000, Four 1,000.

- [Announcer] Gunnar Bishop. Shawn Elwood.

- [Man] Two 1,000, Three 1,000, Four 1,000.

- [Announcer] Nicholas Gallardo.

- [Man] One 1,000, Two 1,000, Three 1,000, Four 1,000.

- [Announcer] Bertha Acosta.

- [Announcer] Bryanna Acosta. Desire Acosta. Ariana Aguilar. Johnny Aguilar. Abigail Aguirre Alvarez. Vanessa Alvarado Gonzalez.

- [Announcer] Lynae Andrade. Uriel Andrade Huerta. Brenda Andrade Landeros. Izaih Apodaca. Sergio Arellano. Mario Armendariz. Lucero Arreola Bustos. Diana Arzate. Roberto Avila Zaleta. Destiny Bainbridge.

- [Announcer] Jocelyn Barraza. Jesus Barrios. Johanna Barrios. Abimael Barrios Talavera. Mark Beltran-Tadeo. Oscar Bencomo Garcia. Mali Benitez. Cruz Bolivar. Vanessa Burciaga.

- [Announcer] Manuel Bustillos. Damian Canales. Alan Carrete Breceda. Fernando Carrillo. Alexia Carrillo Cena. Javier Castaneda. Reyna Cazares Alfaro. Dorothy Chavez. Felipe Chavez.

- [Announcer] Miranda Chavez. Perry Chavez. Saul Chavez Moreno. Jasmine Cordero. Nayeli Corral. Veronica Diaz. Jackson Diaz Ponce. Jason Dixon. Arleth Dominguez Caro. Joshua Dominguez. That's you, that's you.

- [Announcer] Magda Dominguez Varela. John Du Bray. Gerardo Duran. Justin Earnest. Ashley Echavarria Munoz. Melissa Erives Dominguez. Hector Espinoza. Marcos Eylicio. Jose Federico. Britonya Fleming-Ponce.

- [Announcer] Jesus Flores Martinez. Samantha Gallegos. Jordan Garay.

- [Audience Member] You did it, Jordan!

- [Announcer] Derek Garcia. Isabella Garcia.

- [Girl] I saw that old lady standing up.

- [Announcer] Valeria Garcia. Yiselle, Yiselle.

- [Announcer] Yiselle Garcia. Megan Garcia Barrera. Samuel Garcia Garcia.

- [Announcer] Edgar Gonzalez Garcia. Jasmin Garcia Montes. Jacqueline Gil Saucedo. Francisco Gomez. Nayeli Gomez Escobar. Isaiah Gonzales. Alejandro Gonzalez. Jesus Gonzalez Rodriguez. Jewel Goodhart. That's you. Dominic Griego.

- [Announcer] Fernando Griego. Claudia Guardado.

- [Woman] You gotta go.

- [Announcer] Jahir Guillen Rodriguez.

- [Woman] All right.

- [Announcer] Elena Gurule. Mateo Gurule. Alejandro Gutierrez. Francisco Gutierrez.

- [Announcer] Jesus Gutierrez Ruiz. Isaac Guzman. Abrianna Hernandez. Anthony Hernandez. Aryam Hernandez. Daniel Hernandez. Erik Hernandez. Gilbert Hernandez. Amy Hernandez Marquez. Andy Hernandez.

- [Announcer] Brandon Hidalgo. Ramon Ibarra. Amenity Jake. Adrianna James. Cristina Janzen. Naomi Jimenez. Frida Jimenez Lara. Jesus Jimenez Medina.

- [Announcer] Santana Jones. Victoria Jones. Bobbie Juarez. Jordan Kean. Gavin Kerns. Phillip King. Joseph Lajeuenesse. Eternitti Latimore. Alyssa Limon. Brianna Lopez.

- [Audience Member] Go Brianna!

- [Announcer] Jeramy Lopez.

- [Announcer] Alexis Lucero. Dulce Lucero Flores. Jessica Luevano. Kayla Lugones. Jessie Madrid. Alexa Magallanes. David Magana De La Rosa. Hans Malubay. Gabriela Manriquez Sosa. Shykah Marquez. Jazmin Marrufo Gonzalez. Michelle Martinez Marquez. Kershawna Maryboy. Rodrigo Mauricio.

- [Announcer] Jillian McGee. Elena Medina. Laura Medrano Rodriguez. Luis Michel. Emmanuel Mondragon. Samantha Montano. Yasmiley Montelongo Almanza. That's you.

- [Announcer] Berenice Montelongo Flores. Makayla Montoya. Cynthia Moran Guevara. Serena Munoz. Sergio Munoz Torres. Armando Munoz-Zarate. Monique Nelson. Yasmin Nevarez. Alexandro Nevarez Rodriguez. Perla Nieves Aguilar. Bernardo Nunez Avila.

- [Announcer] Katelin Ohayon. Jonathan Orozco Chavez. Raymond Ortega. Angelo Padilla. Miranda M. Padilla. Miranda N. Padilla. Aaron Pavia. Joshua Peralta. Reyanna Peralta.

- [Announcer] Jude Perea. Alvaro Perez Carmona. Saul Perez Hernandez. Leslie Prieto. Michelle Prieto Pacheco. Isabel Purcella. Guadalupe Quezada Fuentes.

- [Announcer] Jeremiah Quintana. Eddi Quintana Reyes. Martin Ramos. Nayeli Rangel. Denalia Redd. Yuliana Rios. Juan Carlos Rivas. Eduardo Rivas Quinones. Jaylynn Rodriguez. Jose Rodriguez Diaz. Kimberly Rodriguez Flores. Angel Romero. Bryan Rodriguez Gardea. Hana Romero.

- [Announcer] Jacob Romero. James Romero. Leila Saenz. Andres Salazar. Cipri Salazar. Isaiah Salazar Falcon. Laura Salcido Meza. Alejandra Salinas. Cesar Salinas. Dulce Salto Loya.

- [Announcer] Adam Sanchez. Ahryanna Sanchez. Alexis Sena. Christopher Sernas. Tyree Sewell. Monique Silvas. Izaac Smith. That's you.

- [Announcer] Rosalinda Villa. Johnathan Sosa. Daysha Stanley. Anthony Stapleton. Alicia Tafoya. Kevin Taylor. Angelique Teixeira. Jesus Tello. Misael Tinajero. Eric Tonihka. Mark Torres. This is you.

- [Announcer] Alexis Trejo. Zoe Trujillo. Mello Tweeten. Violet Vaquera. Angel Varela. Alejandro Vargas. Jose Vargas. Rosa Vargas. Angela Vasquez. Alexis Vasquez Villa.

CESAR CHAPARRO: Samuel Vazquez Quintana. Jesus Velazquez Cibrian. Evelyn Vidal Blanco. Yaxeni Villarreal. Britta Ward. Donovan Williams. Adrianna Winnikoff. Nicole Winnikoff. Diana Wong. Cruzito Flores. Jasmine Zarate. Nancy Zarate-Leyva. Sonia Zavala Barreras. The Class of 2019 President, who is here with her parents David and Eloisa, and siblings Susana, Lorena and Jorge. She plans on attending UNM, and hopes to become a dental hygienist. She wants to be remembered as the best lazy leader. Jessica Luevano.

JESSICA LUEVANO: Since my very first day of high school, I promised myself I would stand up here, on this day, and deliver this very speech. And here I am, a whole four years later, standing before all of the people that have gone through the same, yet unique, journey as me, all of my classmates, and the people that have helped us make all of this possible. These are the very last moments we will spend as proud Ravens, although we all know that once a Raven, always a Raven. For some of us it came easy, for some of us it did not. But one way or another, we all faced challenges that we had to overcome, and being here today proves that we did surpass any of the obstacles presented to us, whether it was just late nights completing assignments, or things we can not say out loud. We all now have this experience to speak about. Although we all have different feelings about it, we can all agree that at some point, these four years truly consisted of some of the best times of our lives. They have left us with memories that are completely unforgettable. But out of these four years, we all know the one memory we have anticipated to make the most, is the one we are making now. The goal we have worked so hard for to accomplish, is finally being accomplished now. I would like to take a second to thank the two girls on stage, Amy and Letty, because without them, my accomplishments in high school would not have been possible. And to some of the boys out on the floor, you know who you are, you'll always have a mom in me. With that being said, I ask for the Class of 2019 to please rise. I am so proud to have had such an amazing class to have to served to as president. You all truly made this the best year that Rio Grande has seen in a while. I am so excited to see how much we all will succeed, even though we are all parting ways, but we finally did it. Class of 2019, you may now move your tassels from the right to the left. Congratulations!

Rio Grande High Class of 2019 Commencement Information

Platform Guests:

  • APS Leadership: Dr. Antonio Gonzales
  • APS Board Members: Candelaria Patterson, Yolanda Montoya‐Cordova
  • Rio Grand High Members: Amanda DeBell, Principal; Anthony Branch, Benjamin Garcia and Thomas Piper, Assistant Principals; and Veronica Valencia and Michelle Morris, Deans of Students
  • Valedictorian: Alicia Tafoya
  • Salutatorian: Laura Medrano Rodriguez
  • Student Leaders: Jessica Barrett, Class Sponsor; Laura Medrano Rodriguez, Salutatorian and Student Body President; Shykah Marquez, Student Body Vice-President; Amy Hernandez, Senior Class Vice-President; Cesar Chaparro, Student Body President-Elect; Selena Perea, Student Body Vice-President Elect

Graduates:

2019 List of Graduates (PDF)

Commencement Program

  • Welcome
  • Processional: "Pomp and Circumstance," Edward Elgar
  • Presentation of Colors: Rio Grande High MCJROTC Color Guard
  • "National Anthem," Francis Scott Key. Performed by Flutists Makayla Martinez and Jonathan Murillo
  • Introduction of Guests: Jessica Luevano, Senior Class President
  • Speakers: 
    • Graduate Speaker: Fernando Carrillo
    • Bilingual Seal Representatives: Jasmin Garcia-Montes, Sonia Zavala Barreras
    • Valedictorian Address: Alicia Tafoya
  • Concluding Remarks: Amanda DeBell, Principal
  • Presentation of Diplomas: Amanda DeBell
  • Farewell Address: Jessica Luevano, Senior Class President
  • Moving Tassels
  • Recessional: Raven Fight Song Refrain