Purple Pride: CHS seniors urged to take a stand

CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle Vincent Beltran, right, cheers on classmates as they walk across the stage to receive their diplomas at Clovis High’s graduation Saturday at Rock Staubus Gym. Beltran was one of 352 seniors to receive their diplomas.

By Helena Rodriguez: CNJ staff writer

Sitting together for the last time, donned in purple caps and gowns, Jade Smith told her fellow Clovis High School graduates on Saturday that they have only begun to tap into their potential.

“It took awhile, 13 years, but we have finally made it … and we have only begun to tap into our potential,” Smith said as she used some of her classmates as examples.

“Who knows? Among us there could be a scientist who will solve global warming issues, like Pavan, or a doctor who will find the cure for cancer, like Priya, or a great actor, like Josh Bussen, or even a president, like Jessika McGarvey.”

Smith was one of three senior standouts selected to speak during the CHS commencement Saturday. During the morning ceremony, 352 students making up the CHS Class of 2007 were awarded high school diplomas.

Another senior standout, Scott Elliot, incorporated humor into his short talk titled “Defining Moments.” He said, “With courage in our hearts and God by our side, we will take a stand.”

He went on to talk about the defining moments in life that have brought them to that point, from their first day of kindergarten, and even their first clashes with police.

“Today, we face one of the most important moments of our lives — what to do with the power of our education. And what we do with it will be a mark of our character,” Elliot said. “It is up to you to decide what to do.”

The third senior standout, Iris Grooms, said, “We are about to walk out these doors with a piece of paper saying we have finished our public education,” and with that she offered the following three tips or suggestions to her fellow classmates:

• Expect the unexpected.
• Expect trial.
• Expect happiness.

CHS Principal Jody D. Balch told the newly tasseled graduates that their high school diploma is like a passport. “You have to decide now what to do with it,” Balch said. “The diploma is a ticket. Most of all, you must believe in yourself.”

Balch went on to warn students, “If you do good, people will accuse you of being selfish and of having ulterior motives; do good anyway. Be favorable to underdogs but follow only top dogs.”

He finished by saying, “If you give the world your best, it may never be enough, but give the world your best anyway.”

In her speech, Smith told her classmates that today is where their future begins. “We are crossing the line to responsibility, adulthood, and bills. … Now we must break away from our comfort zones and take our own paths in the world.”

Smith ended with, “We never know where tomorrow will lead us, but it will be a fun ride.”