MABTON - One of the largest classes to ever graduate from Mabton High School took center stage before a capacity crowd this past Friday night.
A total of 45 graduating seniors filed through the gym at Mabton High School to celebrate the culmination of their high school education.
Friday's commencement exercise was a celebration, but it was more about living for the moment, learning from the past and looking towards the future.
"This is a day that this gymnasium is filled with pride," said this year's class speaker, Dave Mendoza. "You are a special class."
Mendoza then touched on how the group of graduating seniors have made the journey to this night together.
"What this day really means is you have reached the first major step towards fulfilling all your dreams," said Mendoza. "Graduation marks the end of one phase of your life and the beginning of another."
Mendoza encouraged the graduating class to reach for their dreams and use graduation day as their beginning, not an end. Mendoza cautioned the graduation class that success will not fall in their laps, but rather will come over time with much work.
"A fulfilled life doesn't come by chance," said Mendoza. "But rather with hard work and dedication."
But to achieve success one must have balance in their life, said Mendoza.
"Everything that is important to you must be in balance," said Mendoza.
Mendoza told the graduates that sometimes in life they will lose vision, guidance as to what is important to them. When this moment comes, seek help, ask for guidance, Mendoza said. He asked the graduating class to make the most of their lives, surround themselves with positive people and learn from their mistakes.
"Negative people will not allow you to grow," said Mendoza.
He also encouraged the graduating class to face their fears, not to back down from anything.
"The first time you quit at something it makes it so easier to quit the next time," said Mendoza. "Expand your comfort zone."
Mendoza ended his speech with a couple of words of wisdom for graduates. He warned them to not be afraid of failure.
"I guarantee you at some time in your life you will fail," said Mendoza. "Don't be afraid of failure. Life is full of failure."
He also had one last tidbit for this year's graduates. Mendoza said they may sometimes see the world in a different light, that they may view the world as broke. Mendoza's reply was to simply fix it.
"You are ready," said Mendoza. "Keep your eyes on your goals. Allow your sun to rise."
This year's valedictorian, Rosa Aviles, followed up salutatorian Robert Brambila's speech with her reflection on this year's graduation class. Aviles said graduation marks the end of the journey this year's class took together.
"The Class of 2004 is not perfect," said Aviles. "Although we are not perfect, we will succeed."
When thinking of the Class of 2004, Aviles said words such as motivation and desire to succeed come to mind.
"Although our paths will go many different ways," said Aviles, "it is comforting to know the Class of 2004 has walked together for one last time."
. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
photos by Michael Kantman/Daily Sun News
Mabton High School teacher Karen Jaquish hugs Principal Keith Morris at Friday's graduation. Jaquish was honored at the commencement ceremony for her 29 years of teaching in Mabton. "She has taught every subject possible at Mabton High. She is retiring so she can spend more time traveling to Reno," Morris joked.
Cynthia Ruiz hugs Mabton School District Superintendent Kevin Chase after receiving a $1,000 Mabton Dollars for Scholars scholarship this past Friday night.
Dave Mendoza was the class speaker at this year's graduation. Mendoza talked about the need to not be afraid of failure.
Betsy Fisher leads the Mabton High School graduating class in the benediction on Friday night.
Robert Brambila speaks to a capacity house at Friday's graduation ceremony. Brambila was the salutatorian this year.
Mabton High School Principal Keith Morris helps valedictorian Rosa Aviles up on the stand before her speech.