On May 31, the La Joya High School Graduation, held at the State Farm Arena, drew families and friends who wished to celebrate a milestone in their loved ones’ lives.
The ceremony, which took place at 8:30 a.m., involved the students and staff from LJHS, principals from the other four high schools, central office and the La Joya Independent School District Board of Trustees.
Dr. Alda T. Benavides, the LJISD superintendent, spoke at the graduation and congratulated the former high school students on their accomplishments during their academic career in La Joya. Benavides also performed the official certification of graduates during the ceremony.
“Congratulations Class of 2018, you guys look awesome,” Benavides said. “You are surrounded by people who love you. This community loves you. Look around and look at all the people that are here because we love you. We care for you, and we want you to be successful, and we’re going to be here for you no matter what. Don’t forget that.”
Antonio Cano, the principal of La Joya High School, served as the master of ceremonies for the event. He recognized all the LJISD staff present, and thanked everyone for their contributions to the district.
“Thank you staff for your unending dedication to the kids,” Cano said. “It is evident that your hard work has definitely paid off.”
Cano also recognized the parents who were present at the graduation, and said that their hard work and presence are part of the reason that the students were motivated and able to graduate.
Alexa Michelle Ramos, the senior class president, gave the welcome address during the graduation. She spoke about the conclusion of the class of 2018’s school year, and their journey on in the future.
“Our high school career has reached its inevitable conclusion,” Ramos said. It feels like just yesterday we were stepping into La Joya High School for the first time and experiencing the beginning of our high school adventure.”
Ramos said that the friendships and memories forged in high school would be part of their lives forever.
“The bittersweet moment of achieving this monumental milestone and leaving our young adult lives behind is truly difficult,” Ramos said. “All of our accomplishments will guide us as we embark on our new journey in life.”
Iyara Lisbeth Sanchez, the LJHS salutatorian, gave the first speech, and spoke about the honor that comes with graduating, and her memories of high school. Sanchez said that the teachers and staff at La Joya High School ensured that the group was ready to move on in higher education and in life.
“We have many memorable people who have guided us through the hardships the past few years,” Sanchez said. “Thank you all for always being there when I needed you, and for the continuous advice.”
Mariela Gonzalez, the LJHS valedictorian, spoke about the accomplishments of the Class of 2018, and how far they have come since starting high school.
“As a child, I was brought into a world of imagination and motivation,” Gonzalez said. “My world became an extensive library, and it was in this library in which I became and individual who is always willing to absorb new knowledge.”
Gonzalez thanked her parents, siblings, teachers, friends and boyfriend for all their help throughout her high school career. She also thanked the school board and central office administration for helping to open doors for all La Joya students every year.
“Our diploma is much more than a piece of paper,” Gonzalez said. “It is a portal to another realm. It is inevitable to hit more potholes along the way, yet, it is also inevitable to learn from every obstacle thrown at us.”
After the certification of graduates, the La Joya High School Class of 2018 moved the tassels on their graduation caps from the right side to the left side, signifying their completion of high school and preparation for the next steps in their lives.