More than 200 Calhoun High School students walked onto the field at Sandcrab Stadium Friday evening and left as graduates of the Class of 2019. Ninety four percent graduated with an endorsement or distinguished.
CHS Principal Nicole Amason reflected on the success of the past year with a warm and inviting sunset behind her.
Salutatorian Krislyn Key thanked God for giving her the ability to deliver her speech in front of fellow students, family members, faculty and more. She also thanked her teachers, coaches, friends and teammates she had throughout her school years.
“You have all helped shape me into the student and person I am today. Whether it was educational or life lessons, you’ll have taught me so much, and I’ll always be thankful.”
She expressed her appreciation for her family, and she ended her speech with a message to the CHS Class of 2019.
“I’m sure we can all agree that this moment is pretty bittersweet because we never realized how fast time was passing us by,” said Key. “But on a serious note, I wish all of y’all the best in life, and I hope that this is just the beginning of what life has to offer us.”
Key is planning to attend Texas State University in San Marcos to pursue a bachelor’s degree in science and attend medical school to become a pediatrician.
Valedictorian Macy Medlin is the first person in her family to go to college.
“Words cannot describe how beyond grateful, blessed and thankful I am to achieve this honor even if that is the point of this speech,” Medlin said, adding that she wanted to be valedictorian from a young age.
Medlin decided at a very young age that she wanted to be valedictorian. She also thanked her family, friends and the two most important women in her life, her mother and grandmother, who raised her to be the strong and sometimes stubborn young woman she claimed to be.
“To my mom, Sue, thank you for being my backbone and my support system, for raising me to be independent, goal-driven, hard working, and most importantly teaching me that nothing is impossible if you try hard enough,” said Medlin. “And finally, to my grandma, Elizabeth. Thank you for picking me up when life knocked me down, feeding me with a good meal, and sending me on my way with a hug and more love then I could ever return. Without each and every one of you, I wouldn’t be standing here, so thank you because a big part of this award is yours, too.”
Medlin will attend Texas A&M University as a biomedical science major.
Hope High School graduated more than 40 students, bringing the total number of alumni to 1023. Principal Dwana Finster spoke to the audience with passion and emotion.
“At Hope High School, we meet the students where they are and support them as they begin to work a slightly different path and learn to respond in new peaceful ways,” said Finster. “Young people, your hard work has earned you this diploma. It has been a privilege and an honor to work with each one of you. I shed tears of joy working and just being around each one of you. I am personally a better person because of my experiences working with you. You will never know how much you have impacted all of us.”
Principal’s awards were given to Taran James Matula and Robert Perez. Calhoun Soil and Water Conservation District essay contest winners were Austin Cox, first place, and Blet Htoo, third place.
“Before coming to Hope, I felt like a sheep, just listening but no hands-on action. I wasn’t truly learning anymore. I made a life changing decision at a very young age. Coming to Hope High School helped me balance my time and changed things for the better,” said HHS graduate Jennifer Bazaldua.
Daeja Lozano said her life was an absolute mess before coming to Hope High School.
“I was going through so much, missing so much school, and I was going through so many personal things. I struggled a lot attending school and understanding the teachers and work I was given when I did go,” said Lozano. “I was so depressed with life and the situation I was in. HHS helped me get through everything, not even with just schoolwork but with life. They taught me patience and confidence every single day, to not give up when something is difficult but to push through it and work hard.”
“Before coming to Hope, I was kind of lost. I was all over the place and needed direction. With the assistance of Hope, I have so many doors open up,” said Kaleigh Diaz. “They assisted me in applying for scholarships and granted me with opportunities and tools that I needed to succeed.”
Gary Moses was the featured guest speaker.
“You know how a kid in a candy store feels like? He is feeling awful good. This is how I feel when I am with students. I’ve spent 40 years watching young people like you doing great things,” said Moses. “You’ve tried your best. You’ve done your best, and it shows. Give it your best, and you will succeed. When one door closes another opens up.”