by Jennifer Fry, staff writer
Do something meaningful and hard – that’s the encouragement U.S. Congressman Will Hurd gave Friday, May 25 to the Uvalde High School graduating class of 2018 at this year’s commencement exercises. Other highlights from the evening include this year’s salutatorian and valedictorian addresses, both of which exhorted graduates to take every opportunity to better one’s self.
Commencement ceremonies for the 2018 school year were held at the Uvalde Honey Bowl beginning at 7 p.m.
There were 277 candidates for graduation. Diplomas were conferred by UHS Principal Elizabeth Sandoval, Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Jeanette Ball, and UCISD trustees.
Salutatorian Matthew Williams gave his address on the challenge his fellow graduates will face in figuring out their place in society at large.
“What was high school about?” he asked rhetorically. “Winning the game? Being the funniest?… No, high school was about learning our role in the world and how we fit into the community.”
“Many of us will attend college for a higher education,” Williams went on, “but that does not measure the amount of success we will have in life.” He encouraged his classmates to pursue bettering themselves, for in so doing they will better their country.
To help solidify his argument, Williams quoted John F. Kennedy’s famous 1961 inaugural speech urging citizens to ask what they could do for their country.
“What this quote means to us is simple,” he said. “It is telling all students to go and find your calling; do not waste opportunities that will allow you to become better than the person you are now.”
Valedictorian Ana Laura Aviles presented her speech on the milestones that she and her fellow graduates have shared. She also encouraged the students to work hard to obtain their goals.
“As I scan my fellow graduates, I see among us the leaders of tomorrow who aspire to be lawyers, nurses, teachers, actors, and musicians, while others aspire to go directly into the workforce or military,” she said. “The possibilities are endless when it comes to the class of 2018.”
Aviles thanked her parents in the speech for the academic, technical, and familial support they have given throughout her school years. She also thanked Sacred Heart Catholic School for instilling within her the values of academic excellence, leadership and faith.
She thanked principal Sandoval, remembering her dedication to Aviles and her classmates through service to them at both Morales Junior High and UHS. “We are your finished product,” she said of the class of 2018. “You should be proud of the work you have accomplished.”
Aviles also paused to remember victims of recent school shootings who would not able to walk the stage as her fellow peers would that night. “These events serve as a reminder that we cannot take life for granted,” she said. “We must cherish these moments we have together.”
U.S. Congressman Will Hurd, guest speaker for the night’s program, gave the graduates three pieces of advice he has learned: the importance of a positive attitude, not giving up on dreams, and making sure to do something meaningful and hard.
Valedictorian Ana Laura Aviles is the daughter of Patsy and John Aviles.
Salutatorian Matthew Willliams is the son of Andrea and Patrick Williams.
Sixty percent of the top 10 graduates earned GPAs of over 100. In addition to Aviles and Williams, top 10 graduates, in order of rank, are Estevan C. Encinia, Marla J. Bas, Kaitlyn M. Willemin, Aldo Huerta, Joshua M. Sandoval, Rebecca M. Puente, Denise Longoria and Christen Venegas.
Other students making up the 277 person class of 2018 at UHS are Kendra Lee Aguilar, Ryan Jacob Aguilar, Michael Kris Aguirre-Robinson, Hector Manuel Aguirre Jr., Jennifer Aguirre, George Anthony Alamillo Jr., Jonathan Alcantar, Josue Manuel Alderete, Jose Luis Almaraz, John Devin Alvarez, Madyson Renee Alvarez, Keyla Amaya, Melia Maite Amaya, Seth Frances Andres, Sebastian Aranda, Andrea Rose Arredondo, Emily Grace Ayala, Kayla Celeste Balbuena, Noah Matthew Bell, Jessica Lynn Belman, Lilly Ann Beltz, Brianna Blanco, Martin Isabel Briseno-Quiroz, Martin Buendia and Mariah Alexis Burns.
Also, Matthew L. Camacho, Christian Noe Campos, Chasity Rodriguez Cano, Abigail Nicole Cardona, Gabriel Timothy Cardona, Michael Sebastian Cardoza, Gerardo Carreon, Josiah Carrizalez, Orlando R. Castaneda Jr., Alejandro Vasquez Castellanos, Lesly Lili Castillo Escobedo, Lisvet Lili Castillo Escobedo, Cody Castillo, Dariela Marlene Barboza Castillo, Christian Alexander Castillon, Cathlynn Cielo Castro, Kyle Tristen Castro, Bryson James Catlett, Bailey Ann Chapa, Sammy Chapa, Jonanthony Hernandez Charles, David Eduardo Cobos, Lauren Natalie Anna Coleman, Cerina Rhae Contreras, Chris Ramos Coronado, Emily Rae Cruz and Kayla Marie Curtis.
Also, Domingo Davila, Jeremiah Davila, Jesse Elijah Davila, Elizabeth Priscilla De La Garza, Humberto De Leon, Brandon Lee Degroat, Brenda Sarahi Delgado, Alberto Diaz, Justin Brock Diaz, Isidro Manuel Escamilla Jr., Arron Candelario Estrada, Lisset Fernandez, Matthew Charles Fernandez, Alberto Flores, Angelica Billie Ann Flores, Brandon Thomas Flores, David Flores, Fabian Lee Flores and Kate G. Flores.
Also, Zari Ayanna Galindo, Fernanda Garcia Salinas, Armando Garcia, D’Angelo R. Garcia, Jacob Michael Garcia, Khristian Xerxes Garcia, Alberto Garza, Danielle Jeanette Garza, Edmundo Nicolas Garza, Jackelyn Liana Garza, Randel Eugene Gilland, Antonio Lorenzo Goings, Jacqueline Celeste Gomez, Edwardo Daniel Gonzales Jr., Erika Chantal Gonzales, Fabian G. Gonzales, Brandon Rey Gonzalez, Jacqueline Gonzalez, Rolando Corando Gonzalez, Anthony Jacob Gracia, Jessica Lee Guerrero, Ciro Guillen, Andrea M. Gutierrez and Marissa Mamie Trinidad Guzman.
Also, Angel Nicole Heflin, Jason Heflin, Mitchell Roy Henderson, Alejandro Hernandez-Chavez, Jose Rafael Hernandez, Samantha Marie Hernandez, Zachary Hernandez, Joshua Herrea, Hunter Raine Hobbs, Zebediah Nathaniel Holley, Jeffrey Andrew Hopper, Benjamin Hurtado, Juan Joe Hurtado Jr., Jesus Guadalupe Isaiz, Amire Jaha, Cimarron Little Bear Johnson, Charles Wesley Keys Jr., Cole Christopher Kolacek and Joshua Daniel Kraemer.
Also, Kristopher Louis Leija, Michaela Ellen Lethco, Mia Andrea Long, Melinda Lopez, Joshua Robert Roth Lopp, Gilberto Trinidad Lozano, Gloria Guadalupe Lozano, Benito A. Rodriguez Luna, Christian Delani Luna, Fabiana Angelis Luna and Nathaniel G. Luna.
Also, Nora Jean Luna, Amy Celeste Madrigal, Selena Abigail Maldonado, Jarrod Blake Maples, Diego D. Marines, Gabriela G. Marquez, Abigail Lynn V. Martinez, Andres Martinez, Clarissa Trevino Martinez, John Matthew Martinez, Jose Francisco Martinez, Marcos Anthony Martinez, Mashanie Ray Martinez, Izaiah Mata, Josephine Celeste Mata, Michael Jeffrey Mata and Kristianna Denee McCleery.
Also, Danielle Nicole Medina, Elizabeth C. Medina, Jonathan Edward Medina, Maria Inez Medina, Jessica Melchor, Caryssa Lynda Mendoza, Sarah Feleena Mize, Julian Montalvo, Brook Autum Morales, Emma Brenna Morales, Miguel Antonio Morales, Alexander Moreno, Krystafer Jaymes Moreno, Stephanie Danielle Moreno, Yamile Lara Moreno, Marco Antonio Munoz and Scott Murphy.
Also, Sianna Marie Nava, Michael Christopher Navejar, Janie Nuriulu, Ashley Nicole Olivarez, Justin Lee Olivo, Raul Ortega, Natasha Ortiz, Diego Gutierrez Ovalle Jr., Keith Nathaniel Pendleton Jr., Abigail Ruth Perez, Adan Eliseo Perez, Destiny Perez, Edward Lee Perez, Francisco A. Hernandez Perez, Hugo Alexander Perez, Julio Cesar Perez, Leigha Nechel Perez, Mikaela Alysse Perez, Nicholas Alexander Perez, Pedro Perez III, Pedro Perez Jr., Sarah Carolina Perry, Samantha Nicole Pichardo and Angela Pintor Herrera.
Also, Billy Ramirez, Larissa Rae Ramos, Karissa Michelle Rangel, Desiree Danielle Rendon, Alejandro Rojelio Resma III, April Dennise Reyes, Danny Reyes, Summer Zoe Riojas, Kimberly Celeste Rivera, Matias Xavier Robles, Sarah Rodrigues, Bryan Torres Rodriguez, Jonathan Rodriguez, Justz Diego Rodriguez, Nathaly Alejandra Rodriguez, Savannah Alia Rodriguez, Sean Torres Rodriguez, Katelyn Rose Roman, Emilie Nichole Romero, Jonathan Romo, Mia Josephine Rubio, Elimarie Medrano Ruiz, Jonathan D Ruiz, Kristine Danielle Ruiz and Tania Teran Ruiz.
Also, Stephen Mirelez Saiz, Timothy Mirelez Saiz, Frida Genoveva Salas, Nicholas Daniel Salazar, Alexis Saraie Sanchez, Araceli A. Sanchez, Hillary Rae Sanchez, Jackeline Morin Sanchez, Julian Sanchez, Kitty Marie Sanchez, Kristine Alexis Sanchez, Zully Sanchez, Yaritza Nicole Sandoval, Katelin Nicole Sena, Ezra Jacob Sendejo, Reynaldo Rosales Silguero, Arrlo Louis Silva, Cassandra Silva, Jocelyn Marie Silva, Noelia Angelissa Silva, Noah Arden Smith, Brianna N. Esparza Solis, Giovan Lugo Sosa, Catalina Hernandez Sotelo, Cristian A. Martinez Sotelo, Benancio Soto, Makayla Rae Soto, Ruby Rocha Soto, Pearson Bruce Sterling and William Michael Swift.
Also, Mark Talavera, Ryan Matthew Talavera, Denis Alejandra Torres, Joshua G. Torres, Rogelio Torres, Cameron Trevino, Donald Flores Trevino, Jr., Jacinto F. Trevino, Jacob Hernandez Trevino, Joel Hernandez Trevino, Joerden Nikole Trevino, Randall Luke Turner and Arturo Navarro Urrabazo.
Also, Desyre Kristine Valdez, Estrella Mia Valdez, Jerad De La Cruz Valdez, Jonathan Ray Valdez, Alixandria Nykole Valenzuela, Cynthia Marie Vasquez, Damien Lucifer Vasquez, Jazzelle Vasquez, Iyana Teresa Velasquez, Alexis Michaela Vera, Jailin Angel Victorino, Clara Cecilia Villa, Jazmyne Nicole Villarreal, Madison Elaine Watson, Kyndall Erin Welch and Abigail Dawn Whitehead.