El Paso ISD added 203 new members to its Class of 2021 roster on Wednesday morning during the annual Summer Commencement Exercises that this year took place at Chapin High School.
Students from schools around El Paso ISD who completed all graduation requirements during the summer were able to don the cap and gown in front of their family and friends to celebrate their accomplishment.
The ceremony included students from every comprehensive high school in the district as well as the College, Career & Technology Academy.
Dr. Carla Gonzales, El Paso ISD’s Associate Superintendent of Academics & School Leadership, welcomed the graduates and their families, noting that the work these students had done will help them forge a new path in their lives.
The students who graduated on Wednesday participated in a myriad of programs and academies that helped them overcome obstacles to earn their high-school diplomas.
Included among the graduates was a 35-year-old woman whose original graduation date in 2005 was postponed because of cancer. After recuperating and finally meeting all graduation requirements she was able to walk across the stage.
That type of resiliency is what sets summer graduates apart, said guest speaker Tori Navarro, a Burges alumna and kindergarten teacher who also struggled as a student.
“Each and every one of you has a bright future ahead,” said Navarro, who also heads one of the city’s most extensive volleyball club systems.
“You may come across people that will try to keep you down. Those are the people to stay away from,” she added. “Take their words and use them as fuel to keep going. High-school graduation is not the end … it’s only the beginning.”
Wednesday’s graduates join the nearly 5,000 high-school seniors who earned their diplomas as members of El Paso ISD’s Class of 2021 during the spring ceremonies in June.