2018-06-13 / News

Raymondville, San Perlita 2018 graduates ready to face world

by Allen Essex


RAYMONDVILLE GRADUATES march toward the stage at Burnett Stadium Thursday for the commencement ceremony. (Photos by Allen Essex) RAYMONDVILLE GRADUATES march toward the stage at Burnett Stadium Thursday for the commencement ceremony. (Photos by Allen Essex) Brisk wind buffeted the caps and gowns of 2018 Raymondville graduates Thursday at Burnett Stadium.

Valedictorian Lillian Nicole Giraud’s voice cracked as she expressed her feelings at being named the top graduate and facing an audience of hundreds of parents and family members in the bleachers.

“This is the day I had always been told would come but never was able to imagine myself living,” she said. “I think we are all going to have to face many more days like this in the future. Regardless of our different plans or our expected career paths, we have many more milestones to come. And, although we may try to make sense of things beforehand, there will always be moments that will feel surreal.”

Even though she had been assured she would be the top graduate, that did not keep her from feeling that, if she failed some challenge along the way, it would affect her future, Giraud said. Some failures were among her favorite memories, especially a project called “ Space Camp Movie,” which now seems to her a great bonding experience and that she and her classmates were “just kids being kids,” no matter how disorganized it seemed at the time.


RAYMONDVILLE VALEDICTORIAN LILLIAN NICOLE GIRAUD is honored by High School Principal Frank Garcia Thursday. RAYMONDVILLE VALEDICTORIAN LILLIAN NICOLE GIRAUD is honored by High School Principal Frank Garcia Thursday. “ Approach challenges with a willingness to learn and, most importantly, always be genuine,” Giraud said.

She thanked her mother for the many times she drove her to school or picked her up after late, after-school activities.

She thanked her parents for their many sacrifices. Her own shortcomings included being too independent, not listening to advice and thinking she could always do things without help from anyone, Giraud said.


RAYMONDVILLE SUPERINTENDENT STETSON ROANE congratulates Salutatorian Angelica Marie Benitez. RAYMONDVILLE SUPERINTENDENT STETSON ROANE congratulates Salutatorian Angelica Marie Benitez. The most important lesson she and her classmates learned in school was how to learn, Giraud said.

Students graduating from Raymondville High School, Early College High School and Raymondville Options Academic Academy have big plans, including attending schools ranging from Texas Tech to Texas State Technical College to University of Texas Rio Grande Valley to universities in and out of state. Some have already joined the armed forces, many have already completed some college classes and others are planning to learn skilled trades.

On Friday, San Perlita High School’s graduates took the stage.

Guest speaker Stacie Lopez, a special education teacher who is a graduate of Raymondville High School, University of Texas Pan American and Texas A&M University, said students should, “pull together, work as a team to accomplish goals, take whatever small steps you have to take, with tomorrow always in mind,” she said.


MEMBERS OF THE 2018 RAYMONDVILLE HIGH SCHOOL CLASS move the tassels on their mortarboards, a moment they have long awaited. MEMBERS OF THE 2018 RAYMONDVILLE HIGH SCHOOL CLASS move the tassels on their mortarboards, a moment they have long awaited. Students should always remember they have the support of their family and friends, Lopez said. As she struggled to help students in her classroom to learn, she found that persistence and hard work will eventually pay off, Lopez said.

Valedictorian Kirsten Kinney quoted the late tennis star Arthur Ashe, who said, “Start where you are, use what you have and do what you can.”

Her success in high school is based on the same principles, Kinney said. “No matter where you are, you can always improve, strive to be better, if not the best. Best is just an idea derived from the opinions of others.”


SAN PERLITA’S GRADUATING CLASS waits in anticipation for their graduation ceremony to begin. SAN PERLITA’S GRADUATING CLASS waits in anticipation for their graduation ceremony to begin. Her experiences in high school have shown her that hard work does pay off, Kinney said.

Jamie Zallar recalled memories of the Class of 2018’s experiences during their school years as photos of classmates as children and teenagers played on a screen.

Class officers were President Edgar Uresti, Vice President Zachary Cavazos, Secretary Toni Teniente, Treasurer Mikayla Garcia and Senior Representatives Rudy Ahumada and Janie Zallar.

Class sponsors were Criselda Rubalcaba, Cassandra Gallardo, Mary Rodriguez and Julia Diaz.



SAN PERLITA SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS ALBERT PENA speaks at the commencement ceremony Friday. SAN PERLITA SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS ALBERT PENA speaks at the commencement ceremony Friday.

SAN PERLITA STUDENTS walk through the gymnasium on their last day of school. SAN PERLITA STUDENTS walk through the gymnasium on their last day of school.

PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS eagerly await for the San Perlita graduation ceremony to begin. PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS eagerly await for the San Perlita graduation ceremony to begin.

SAN PERLITA FACULTY MEMBERS await the beginning of the graduation ceremony on Friday. SAN PERLITA FACULTY MEMBERS await the beginning of the graduation ceremony on Friday.

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