The 2022 graduating class of Waelder High School may have only been comprised of 14 people, but they brought out a host of relatives, friends and community members to celebrate their commencement on Saturday, May 28, at the Waelder ISD gymnasium.
Elizabeth Ramos gave the valedictory address as the top ranking graduate. She told her classmates Saturday is “a day that we turn to another chapter of our lives, making mistakes, new opportunities and different experiences.”
“But that's okay. That's the point of life — making mistakes and learning from them,” Ramos said. “One piece of advice I would like to give to my fellow peers is that you cannot let the fear of failure or judgment stop you from doing what's going to make you great. You cannot let the fear of failure stop you from becoming successful. You cannot let the fear of criticism stop you from achieving your goals. We've all got them, goals, whether they're big or small.”
Ramos said there were “many times in which I doubted myself, whether I was capable of doing certain tasks.” However, she still managed to find a way to reach the finish line.
“Be prepared for the real world,” she encouraged her classmates. “It is not easy, but I hope you make it. I hope you all make it, very diligently. Take the steps, step by step, to your growth.”
Arianna Ramirez gave the salutatory address as the second-highest graduate and said commencement was not an end to the story for these 14 seniors.
“It's really the beginning for us,” Ramirez said. “Some of us will go on to jobs. Some are gonna go to college and some of us are gonna go to a community college or technical college and we’re all going our different ways. And I don't think it's important to necessarily have a degree … I just think our goal is just to be happy with the life we have and the ones we will have in the future, not just the ones we have right now.
“I want everyone to achieve what they want — their goals and dreams. I hope we can be the best persons we can and be happy with our lives. This is just the first step and we have our whole lives ahead of us. There are going to be lots of obstacles and sometimes we’re going to feel alone but we’re not because we are all in this together.”
Waelder High School teacher Cheryl Handy gave a commencement address and congratulated the class of 2022 on their perserverance, talent and success.
Principal Ashley Taylor read biographies for each senior during the processional and later would award scholarships and present the class for certification to superintendent Dr. Ron Lillie, who recognized the businesses in the community who contributed to the 2022 graduating class and also told students when it was time to symbolically move their tassels from right to left to observe the rite of passage to graduate.
Diplomas were awarded by Taylor, Lillie and the WISD School Board.
Student openings were delivered by Elizabeth Ramos (English) and Maely Bracamontes (Spanish) while the student closings were delivered by Makayla Garza (English) and Arianna Ramirez (Spanish). Susana Yanez led the pledges to the American and Texas pledges.
During the recessional, members of the 2022 graduating class gave roses to members of their family and friends before coming back for the traditional tossing of the caps.