School on Wheels

Albuquerque Public Schools Graduation 2019

School on Wheels Class of 2019

Monday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Berna Facio Professional Development Complex

School on Wheels Graduation Transcript

BRYAN GABALDON: Please stand for the graduates of 2019. Please be seated. Good evening and welcome to the 2019 School on Wheels' Graduation. My name is Bryan Gabaldon, counselor at School on Wheels, and I will be your MC for this evening. Parents, grandparents, guardians, and families, the staff of School on Wheels shares in your joy and pride this evening. While this event is meant to applaud and commemorate our seniors, it is also meant to honor the families, who through their love and dedication enabled our seniors to be here tonight receiving their high school diploma. The Pledge of Allegiance will be recited in both Spanish and English. Jonathan Veleta will recite the pledge in English and Karla Lira will recite the pledge in Spanish.

JONATHAN VELETA: 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.

(KARLA LIRA repeats in Spanish)

BRYAN GABALDON: We are honored to have among us this evening, Dr. Antonio Gonzales, Associate Superintendent, Leadership and Learning, Zone Two, Albuquerque Public Schools. Shelly Green, Executive Director, APS Service Center. Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education Member Yolanda Montoya Cordova. And Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education Member Candelaria Patterson. I would also like to introduce our School on Wheels Staff. Ms. Lori Romero, Principal. Mrs. Faye Cook, Resource Teacher. Ms. Marie Cahill, Internship Coordinator, Math Teacher. Mr. Craig Chavez, Educational Assistant. Mr. Cliff Hannah, English, Social Studies Teacher. Mr. Mike Nair, English, Social Studies Teacher. Mr. James Ralls, English, Social Studies Teacher. Mr. Kevin Kubica, Science Teacher. Ms. April Chavez, Science Teacher. Mr. Joe Maness, Mathematics Teacher. Mrs. Starla Vernon, English, PE, and Health Teacher. Mr. Jimmy Silva, Job Developer. Ms. Patricia Valverde, Principal Secretary. Corinne Vigil, Registrar. And Alex Placencio, Custodian. At this time, will any former School on Wheels' staff and School on Wheels alumni please stand and be recognized?

LORI ROMERO: So welcome, parents, guardians, relatives, and friends. As I stand up here at the end of my third year as principal, I think back to when these students first walked through the doors of School on Wheels. Some of you came looking for a new start, some of you came to finish what you had started years ago, and some of you came thinking that you were going to catch up and go back to your home schools, but you never left. This year, we have 21 students who are walking across this stage to receive their diplomas. I want to thank the parents, the guardians, and family members for allowing us to be a part of your family and allowing your student to become a part of our family. It seems like we're always trying new things at School on Wheels. We added a service learning component where students could go out and give back to the community. Students were EAs at Emerson and Susie Rayos Marmon Elementary Schools. They worked with Paws and Stripes, the Storehouse, and Joy Junction to name a few. We expanded our internship program to include new opportunities for students. Seniors worked on a capstone project that helped them walk out with solid plans for the future. Bryan, our counselor, worked with seniors to make sure that they were set up for the future. All of our graduates have been accepted into post-secondary institutions. Tonight, we will have three students who will be speaking during the ceremony. All three of these students have worked very hard this year and came to us after struggling at other schools. Two were on the verge of dropping out. One has since had a child and is raising a beautiful baby girl. Since coming to School on Wheels, all three of these students have not received any grade lower than a C. You will hear their stories tonight. Throughout the ceremony, you will hear the journey that these students have made to get here. We also have three students who are wearing sashes because they have the three highest GPAs of the class of 2019. This has been another remarkable year and it always feels like I'm sending my own children out into the world. We will always be here for you any time you want to visit, which for some of our past graduates is all the time. I know that you will be successful and achieve great things. The future of this world is in really good hands. As I have told you every day, be safe and make good decisions. I'm excited to hear about your adventures. You've worked hard, go out and enjoy life. You've earned it. I now have the pleasure of introducing our first student speaker, Ms. Nayeli Alvarado.

NAYELI ALVARADO: Hi, for those who may not know me, my name is Nayeli Alvarado, as Miss West said. I'm a graduating senior, class of 2019. At an early age, it was through my oldest brother Juan, whom I had first heard of the name School on Wheels. He was the first person I knew who had attended School on Wheels. A couple of years later, it was through a friend of mine who had once again brought the name School on Wheels up. I became a mother on December 2017. Now I am the mother of a beautiful baby girl named Kimberly. My friend told me about how much more I would like School on Wheels, being that I was pregnant, when compared to a much larger and traditional high school. As she began to tell me about it, I was interested when she mentioned that the classrooms contained a much smaller group of students, so I thought having smaller classes sounded pretty cool. She invited me to go check it out. As funny as it may seem, I seriously thought it was a school on a bus. And although, sorry. However, when I showed up to the school, in fact was nothing close to what I had imagined. It was just a regular building that looked like any other school, although pretty much smaller, which was something I really liked. For the first couple days of school, I was afraid. I didn't talk much to anyone. I felt out of place and felt like I didn't fit in due to the fact that I was pregnant. I really thought everyone would treat me different. However, I was completely wrong because that was not the case at all. I soon began befriending classmates and as time went on we got closer and closer, more so than I ever could imagined. I remember sitting with friends in English class talking about real life issues about life parenting skills for my daughter and other topics real to me. I remember once, Mr. Nair told us "That was a great Socratic seminar today! "Great job guys!" And I was thinking, really? I just thought that was just a really cool conversation. Since being enrolled here, my high school experience at School on Wheels has been much more than learning academics and studying. For me, it has been all about fostering relationships and team work with classmates. School on Wheels was more like a family and less like a school. The time spent here will always hold a place in my heart. I will never forget the caring teachers and the staff that would spend countless hours helping us before and even after school, taking time from their busy schedule to help us, whether it be to better understand material or with personal problems. It is greatly because of them that we are here today. I will most certainly miss this school and friendly environment it provided. However, the time has come for us to continue on with life and part our ways. As seniors, we will all have different paths which we have chosen to pursue. For me, it will be to attend CNM in order to pursue my nursing degree. All of my friends are choosing various paths. Jonathan is getting his Commercial Drivers License, as well as going into a welding program. Karla like myself is going into the nursing. Over the years, I hope to keep in touch with both my teachers and friends. We all came here lost, looking to pave our own path, now that we have a much clearer path, thanks to the likes of Ms. West and Mr. Bryan. Thank you guys for caring about us. It has been a blast attending this school. I would like to wish you guys nothing but the best in life. Don't let anyone tell you you can't accomplish something, because it doesn't matter if everyone in this world doubts you. As long as you believe in yourself, anything can be accomplished.

LORI ROMERO: Board members Miss Yolanda Montoya Cordova and Candelaria Patterson, it is my honor to present the class of 2019. They have met all of the graduation requirements as set forth by the Albuquerque Public School's Board of Education and the New Mexico Public Education Department. To you, I present the class of 2019.

BOARD MEMBER YOLANDA MONTOYA-CORDOVA: Whoops. Thank you. It gives me such pride and joy to accept this class. I know you all have worked really hard and just thinking about the community that you've built by being in a smaller space like that brings me a tremendous amount of joy. I do have a few notes and one is I just want to remind you all, you are never, ever alone. There's people who love you and in this room, you can see it's a testament to all the people that love you and know you. And so remember you are never alone. Always love your family. More importantly, be kind to yourself and love who you are. You've come this long and this far and just remember what you're made of and everything that you're capable of doing. Be authentic. And what that means is just, you know, be yourself and be true to your values and live with your own purpose. You've taken a long time to get to this point and I know you've got some values and some ideas about what that purpose is. And be proud of yourself and your community. I also live in the South Valley, I love the South Valley, and I'm so proud that School on Wheels is in my community and I'm proud that you're attending a school in my community. And I want you to remember the blessings that have been bestowed on you from this land, the land of enchantment, New Mexico. We love you, we care about you, and just as it's been said, we hope that you do come back and we hope that you stay with us in New Mexico, go on to nursing school, go on to be welders, truck drivers, teachers, whatever it is that's in your path, go on to do all those things but please do it here with us in New Mexico because we need your talent. Thank you.

BOARD MEMBER CANDELARIA PATTERSON: So on behalf of the Albuquerque Public Schools, we accept the graduating class of 2019 for School on Wheels. Congratulations.

LORI ROMERO: So I'd like to introduce our next senior speaker and that is Miss Yareli Fernandez.

YARELI FERNANDEZ: (speaks in Spanish) At School on Wheels, our tradition is that Team Leaders present their seniors with their diplomas. In keeping with that tradition, we will begin our presentations. Mr. Nair.

MIKE NAIR: Thanks. I'm gonna keep this short. I'm gonna miss you guys for sure. You know that. I want to go over each student and Jorge. Jorge is the listener. Time sheds true personalities and the more anyone knows Jorge, the more you will respect and admire him. Jorge is a young man with a heart of gold. He is compassionate, sincere, a listener, and very kind. For those of you that have the privilege to get to know him, and it's a very small few, you will have a friend for life. That's definitely Jorge. Nayeli the leader. Nayeli is a loyal friend, a compassionate mother, and a young woman that takes ownership of her life and anything that she accomplishes. Nayeli is a true leader. She's respected and trusted by all her peers and teachers. When seniors need to meet, all I had to do was just contact her and then there they were. When someone needs help with their classwork, there she is. Nayeli will be there, always leading the way. Keep leading the way, Nayeli. Jon, this guy. Jon the entrepreneur. Jon is probably one of the most real people you will ever meet. No sugar coating anything, just honest refreshing truth. As a student, sometimes the teachers would have this awesome lesson plan in their idea, maybe some, I don't know, Enlightenment educational model as you would say and then they'd say, "I've got this great lesson plan idea." And Jon will say "I don't think so. "This has no practical value at all." And he's right. So as a student, he'd be the voice of other students and he would critically dissect what works and what doesn't work in a classroom. If a class has no honest application in the real world, Jon will let you know. I know Jon will take these skills to make things real, practical, and realistic to anything he does especially, and I know this, Jon, you will own your own company one day. That's Jon. Alan, Alan. Alan the engineer. Alan never accepts good enough in anything he does. As a student, he wants to work his best at any assignment or project. Alan directed a percussion band for little fifth grade kids and when he first started, he was kinda scared, a little scared of the kids and didn't want to work with them. But at the end, the final performance, the parents were hugging him and telling him what a great job he did. And I know he's looking, he wants to be an electrical engineer, but a lot of parents said maybe you should be a music teacher. I just thought that was kind of interesting. But at school, he does the same thing too. He does the best at every assignment. When Alan was preparing his capstone project, I know he was practicing the night before and taking some last minute notes and getting all stressed out about it. Wherever Alan goes in life, he's gonna be the best at whatever he does, that's for sure. Alan.

BRYAN GABALDON: Nayeli Alvarado. Alan Gonzalez. Jorge Ramos. Jonathan Veleta. Mr. Kubica.

KEVIN KUBICA: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. It is my honor today to speak about two of the seniors on my team. While I only have two of them, three minutes may not really be enough time to adequately describe the impact that each of them have had on the school and their community, though I'm going to attempt it in two minutes or less. Feel free to time me if you want. So when I first met Yareli, it was last school year. She was kind of a difficult student to get to know at first. She spoke very little English and would find as many excuses as possible to leave my classroom and avoid a conversation. But over time, that would definitely change. She would start asking me questions, she would come to me and ask for help. She would start interacting with me more and more as she started to overcome the many obstacles in her education. She even considered leaving at one point and we convinced her to come back, which I'm very grateful that she did. She's overcome every single obstacle. She's completing the school year with a semester GPA of like over 3.5. She has nothing below a B. And with it, she has a bright future in elementary education. That's Yareli. Okay. Ethan Sherman holds a special place on my team as one of the first students that I had ever had at School on Wheels. He was originally on my team from when we were at the other campus at Western Trails. Getting to know him was also kind of difficult for me at times but for completely different reasons in that Ethan tended to feel kind of aloof to me, even though I knew he knew absolutely everything that was going on in my class and around the school. As I got to know him better, I know that he is an artistic soul with interests in cars and skateboarding and all around just being good to his friends. I've watched him transform into a somewhat immature kid into a very intelligent young man with ambitious goals in automotive mechanics. I will certainly miss the drawings that he would leave on my whiteboard in my classroom on almost a daily basis. I'd erase 'em and he'd just come back and draw them again. I could go on about both of my seniors for hours and so I've plenty more to talk about, but I'm probably already going on for too long. So all I have to say is good luck to both of you, wherever your path takes you, and no matter what you do, you'll always have my full support. Thank you.

BRYAN GABALDON: School on Wheels scholarship recipient, Yareli Fernandez-Garcia. Ethan Sherman. Miss Chavez.

APRIL CHAVEZ: (speaks in Spanish) I'm so proud of you.

BRYAN GABALDON: Samantha Detrana. Karla Lira. Jesus Lopez-Gayton. Edgar Lozoya. Mr. Hannah.

CLIGG HANNAH: We have a really big group. Good evening and thank you for coming. This portion of the ceremony allows each advisor to describe their relationship with students. Our functions as advisors continue to evolve and many of the duties that once created connections between teachers and students either no longer exist or delegated to others. However, our Wednesday service learning component offers students an opportunity to establish these connections while they expand their horizons. Students participated in a variety of locations. Hector volunteered with me at South Valley Care Center. His bilingual skills proved especially effective while he assisted residents in their daily activities. Moreover, he witnessed the consequences of the choices we routinely make and the resulting end of life issues. The traditional classroom does not offer that level of empirical evidence which illustrates the value of service learning. One of the things that has not changed at School on Wheels is the primary role of the teacher. For me, whether in the classroom or during service learning, that role focuses on student growth. My chosen curriculum provides students with a simple unwritten lesson. Life must be mastered. And the most effective way to accomplish this is to plan. Hector has planned in his capstone, as every senior has, what he will do after school. He has a plan A and he has a plan B. A thoughtful plan diligently executed remains the shortest path to student success, not just in an academic environment. Hopefully the process students learn serve them later in life as they analyze important decisions that they must make. This may sound like the relationship between a teacher and student flows one way. Nothing could be further from the truth. Experience has taught me that young people can affect me at least as much as I have affected them. They remain a part of me after they leave. So as we, the faculty of School on Wheels, say goodbye to these graduates, I bid an affectionate farewell to the young people that have taught me as much as I have taught them. Finally, I reiterate the mantra that has served me well throughout my life. Work hard, play hard. Congratulations, 2019.

BRYAN GABALDON: Hector Aguilar. Mr. Maness.

JOE MANESS: Good evening, my name is Joe Maness and I'm a teacher of mathematics here at School on Wheels. It is my honor to present to you two outstanding young men who are going to positively impact this society in the foreseeable future. Genaro Rubio is a study in tenacity. He is an individual that has had many hardships and yet persevered to the point of graduation. He did his service learning component for graduation at Susie Rayos Marmon Elementary School, where he would assist a teacher in the classroom. The students loved him. That speaks highly of your character. I have no doubt that you will do great in whatever field you choose to go into. Congratulations, Genaro. Yes, yes, I agree. Angelo, Angelo, Angelo. Yeah, yeah, yeah, so you know him too, okay. Yeah, what can I say about this student except thanks for making us all look good? He too did his service learning component at Susie Rayos Marmon Elementary School. The video of Angelo conducting a lesson there went viral. Well, at least inside of APS anyway. And now everyone thinks that our school is the greatest thing since the invention of the chalkboard. And to prove how awesome this student is, I am proud to announce that Angelo has been awarded a Bridge to Success Scholarship. Is there anything you can't do? Congratulations, future senator Angelo. Yeah, I'm voting for him too, yeah. And thank you, School on Wheels, for making this, my last year of teaching, a memorable one. Thank you.

BRYAN GABALDON: Before I announce Mr. Maness's graduates, I forgot to say that Jesus Lopez-Gayton was also a School on Wheels scholarship recipient. Jesus. Good job, Jesus. We have another School on Wheels scholarship recipient, Angelo Guzzo. Genaro Rubio. Mrs. Vernon.

STARLA VERNON: Good evening. This year, I had the pleasure and privilege of working with two seniors on my team, David Barber and BreOnna Candelaria. Both whom I've known since they were freshman. David has a heart of gold and he cares deeply about issues affecting our world. Over the years, his contributions to classroom discussions were insightful and thought-provoking. He plans to enter the technology sector and I can't wait to see what he accomplishes in this field. Congratulations, David. BreOnna is a kind and thoughtful young woman who also plans to go into the technology sector. She is a natural leader who knows what she wants to accomplish and I have no doubt she will achieve her goals. Congratulations, BreOnna. Since their freshman year, David and BreOnna have grown into remarkable young adults and I will without a doubt miss them very, very much. And finally, I would like to acknowledge the parents and guardians of all the students graduating this evening. Your support and commitment to your child's education is why he or she is standing on this stage tonight. Thank you.

BRYAN GABALDON: David Barber. School on Wheels scholarship recipient, BreOnna Candelaria. Mr. Chavez.

CRAIG CHAVEZ: Good evening. Tonight there is proof in this room, on the stage and behind me, that our future is bright ahead. Miss Robinson, Miss Cahill, and I got to see these three students succeed not only this year but in previous years. Roberta Lujan, Destiny Pettis, and Gerardo Lozoya have some of the best work ethic I have seen and I have no doubt in my mind that they are going on to do great things and live the happiest lives they can. Destiny becoming a veterinary technician and Gerardo a computer engineer are both recipients of the CNM Bridge Scholarship. Roberta aspires to be a lawyer and I truly believe that she can do it. So please, round of applause for the three behind me. And as I said in the beginning of the speech that you were behind me, but just know that I'm always behind you in whatever you do, so congratulations to the class of 2019.

BRYAN GABALDON: Gerardo Lozoya. Roberta Lujan. Destiny Pettis. Mr. Ralls.

JAMES RALLS: I have to admit that I'm a little jealous of our next graduate. She's one of our students who finished all her requirements last semester and has gotten to spend this semester soaking up the sunshine, the sights, and the sounds of Mexico. I was a little worried she was gonna stay down there and wasn't gonna make it here tonight, but I'm glad she did. Like many of the students on this stage tonight, Wendy is a legacy student. One of those students who has a family member graduated from School on Wheels in the past. Unlike her sister, our former graduate, Wendy comes across as a little shy, a little quiet, and a little conservative. But underneath that quiet exterior is something else, something that may just be a family trait. Inside Wendy, there is evidence of a shrewd thinker and a keen observer, skills she will definitely need in the future. Wendy is preparing to enroll in CNM to start her degree in psychology, specializing in working with children and teens. A noble profession, a needed profession, and a profession I know she will excel in. It has been an honor to work with Wendy over the past few years and like many of those who graduate, her presence in our classroom will be missed. I wish her nothing but the best in her future.

BRYAN GABALDON: Wendy Sandoval Astorca. Our last senior speaker is BreOnna Candelaria.

BREONNA CANDELARIA: I remember when I was a freshman and people told me high school would go by fast, I thought to myself, no, it won't. It's going to take forever. But here I am standing on this stage four years later, my senior year, somewhere I never thought I would be. But as they say, everything great comes to an end. The last two years were great because of the people I was surrounded by. My number one goal was to graduate with all As and I achieved it. I would like to say thank you to Ms. West and Bryan for pushing me to do better and for always believing in me. If it wasn't for School On Wheels, I would have just given up on school. Thank you to my family and friends that helped me achieve this goal. But a special thank you to my mom Natalie and my stepdad Joseph for helping me get to where I am today, by encouraging me to persevere and believe in myself when nobody else believed in me. Also thank you to my boyfriend and his mom for being here through the last year of high school, telling me to always do my best. To Ms. Chavez and Mrs. Vernon for encouraging me as well. I'm going miss seeing Ms. Chavez in the hallway always saying hello. I'm going to miss Mrs. Cahill and our long talks about me going to college and what a great person she says I'm going to become. Thank you to all of you for believing in me and giving me the chance to finish school even with the thought of giving up. Also thank you to everyone who doubted me and told me I wasn't gonna graduate. Look at me now. I'm standing here, saying I did it. Congratulations, class of 2019, we did it!

LORI ROMERO: Can we get another round of applause for our speakers and our students? So as Mr. Maness mentioned, we are losing one of our staff members and I'd like to recognize him at this time. Mr. Joe Maness will be retiring after 18 years with APS. Joe and I worked together at Rio Grande High School when I first started teaching and 17 years later, I had the great fortune of working with him again. We just have a small token of our appreciation for him. And I do have something else for you, Joe, it just did not come in in time. I didn't want to embarrass you in front of a whole lot of... Lisa. Lisa, where are you? Lisa, where are you? He's yours now. Graduates, if you would please stand. It is now my honor to ask that on the count of three, you move your tassel from the right side to the left, signifying your new status as high school graduates. Audience, please join me in the count.

- [Audience] One, two, three!

LORI ROMERO: Congratulations, scholars. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me once more in applauding these fine young scholars and graduates.

School on Wheels Class of 2019 Commencement Information

Platform Guests:

  • APS Leadership: Dr. Antonio Gonzales, Shelly Green
  • APS Board Members: Yolanda Montoya Cordova, Candelaria Patterson

School on Wheels Staff:

  • Lori Romero, Principal
  • Faye Cook, Resource Teacher
  • Marie Cahill, Mathematics Teacher
  • Craig Chavez, Educational Assistant
  • Cliff Hannah, English/Social Studies Teacher
  • Mike Nair, English/Social Studies Teacher
  • James Ralls, English/Social Studies Teacher
  • Kevin Kubica, Science Teacher
  • April Chavez, Science Teacher
  • Joe Maness, Mathematics Teacher
  • Starla Vernon, English/PE/Health
  • Jimmy Silva, Job Developer
  • Patricia Valverde, Principal Secretary
  • Corinne Vigil, Registrar
  • Alex Placencio, Custodian

Graduates:

2019 List of Graduates (PDF)

Commencement Program

  • Processional: Principal, Dignitaries, Support Staff, Team Leaders & Graduation Seniors
  • Welcome and Pledge: The Pledge of Allegiance, recited in Spanish and English
  • Introduction of Dignitaries: APS Leadership, APS Board of Education
  • Recognition of School on Wheels Staff and Alumni
  • Principal's Opening Remarks
  • Student Speaker: Nayeli Alvarado
  • Presentation and Acceptance of Graduating Class: Lori Romero, Members of APS Board of Education
  • Student Speaker: Yareli Fernandez
  • Presentation of Diplomas: School on Wheels Team Leaders
  • Student Speaker: BreOnna Candelaria
  • Recognition of Retiring Staff Member: Joe Maness 
  • Closing Remarks and Moving of the Tassel