The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Nearly 500 to walk stage at CHS graduation


CLOVIS — Nearly 500 students will receive their diploma tonight at the Clovis High School 2017 Wildcat Graduation, an evening celebrating hard work, accomplishment, and the start of a new chapter in life.

“I just don’t want to eat the stairs,” said Jaime Smith, a CHS senior eyeballing the steps to the stage during a graduation rehearsal Thursday afternoon.

Administrators anticipate a full house and ask attendees to arrive early for the 6 p.m. ceremony at the Curry County Events Center. Last year’s graduation brought in close to 5,500 guests, and organizers expect a similar if not larger crowd this year.

With an estimated 482 students walking the stage, the 2017 graduating class is slightly larger than the school’s yearly average of 450, said Principal Jay Brady.

New to the proceedings this year is a special bilingual distinction for students who have demonstrated proficiency in oral and written Spanish. Over 60 graduates will wear a sash designating the achievement, in addition to the honors society students wearing cords.

The seniors interviewed Thursday were optimistic for the future and proud of their success so far.

“I’m mostly excited to go on to the next step,” said Tyler Gutierrez, who will study sound technology next year at South Plains College and hopes to one day work at Disney World.

“I’m just ready to be done. I’m ready for college,” said Nysah Quintero, who plans to study cosmetology at Clovis Community College. Her friends said they plan to study photography and auto-mechanics at CCC.

Cassie Crowe is “super excited” to graduate and also start in the cosmetology school at CCC and earning an associates degree in applied science.

Cesar Avila said he is especially excited to get out into the world and make a living.

“We worked really hard to get to this point,” he said. “We get to start our lives and go on to bigger things — work and money.”

Asusenna Chavez is one of four student speakers at tonight’s ceremony, presenting on the topic of “challenge”. The three other speakers — Sall Ahmadian, Daniela Rodriguez and Rohan Angadi — will speak on the topics of past, present and future, respectively. The speech topics were assigned by a random drawing.

“I want my speech to acknowledge the fact that everything we went through to get to this day was all worth it,” said Chavez, who will attend CCC in the fall. “I’m not afraid of the future. I’m ready.”

Ahmadian said it was “humbling” to write his speech, considering the diverse the life paths he and his peers are likely to follow. He will attend the University of New Mexico next year, with the intention of eventually studying law and going into politics.

For Rodriguez and Angadi, reflecting on their high school years was slightly nostalgic.

“It’s been a great experience,” said Angadi, who will study mechanical engineering at Yale. “It’s bittersweet.”

“Writing my speech made me realize how fast (high school) went by,” said Rodriguez. “It feels like yesterday we were all going out for sophomore orientation.”

Rodriguez said she will join the nursing program at CCC next year.

“I’m very excited. I’m astounded,” said David Baca. “The only problem is, I don’t know what to do next.”

Baca said his plan right now is to take a couple pre-requisite classes at CCC and “then probably join the Army” in the fall.

Christian Cook took an extra year to graduate, but he’s looking forward to sharing his accomplishment tonight with his mother.

“It was really stressful,” said Cook, who will attend CCC and hopes to become a phlebotomist. “I can’t wait until college. I heard it’s way easier.”


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