The Rocket Class of 2020 gathered Tuesday night to celebrate their accomplishments and receive their diplomas in a ceremony marked by social distancing and tons of emotion.
Because of health guidelines set in place to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony was moved outdoors to the Franklin High School stadium. This was Irvin’s 61st graduating class.
The class of nearly 300 received nearly $4.8 million in scholarships including a Dorothy Quinn Scholar, a UTEP Presidential Scholars and seven military enlistment scholarships.
“Today, in front of me I see resilient individuals that were still able to strive to accomplish their goals, despite these difficult circumstances,” valedictorian Magdelena Mireles told her classmates. “We were able to push past this global obstacle and continue to work hard. I see the future lawyers, teachers, doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, musicians, and many more successful Rockets. You all are genuine people that are going to be the change in the world, the ones who will shape the next generations to come.”
All Irvin Girl Debbie Hill’s remarks touched on the class’ motto: “Our lives are before us, our past behind, but our memories are forever with us.”
“As a class, there’s no doubt that we have endured the unthinkable. Together, we’ve faced events that no one ever thought possible, including this pandemic that took over our lives so quickly,” Hill said. “We felt as if the world had been flipped upside down. Yet, we persevered and conquered our goals. After you leave here and head toward the next chapter of your lives, I encourage you to always remember who you were while walking the halls of Irvin High School.”
The ceremony also recognized salutatorian Sofia Flores and All Irvin Boy Nathaniel Magallanez, who kicked off the ceremony with introductions, the Pledge of Allegiance and Texas Pledge.
Hill concluded the ceremony with the turning of the tassel and flower toss – a social distancing program change to avoid the cap toss.
“When I look back at high school, I won’t remember the stressful assignments, or the STAAR tests that made me question how long four hours really is,” she said. I’ll remember seeing the IHS light up together, hearing the iconic, ‘Who are we?’ and mostly, standing with you today, excited for our future.”