Friday, June 12, 2009


Just over 350 seniors in the Roma High School Class of 2009 were awarded their diplomas in a graduation ceremony on Wednesday evening, June 3 that was disrupted by a fierce thunderstorm but was resumed inside the Roma High Gymnasium.

All the speeches and remarks had been made and a few diplomas had already been awarded when the decision was made to move the ceremony indoors. From 6:45 p.m. forward, storm clouds steadily began building to the north.

At approximately 8:00 p.m., slightly less than 30 minutes after the ceremony began, high winds began to blow into Gladiator Arena and lightning began to illuminate the sky to the north.

In the next 20 minutes, the lightning moved closer and appeared more menacing. At approximately 8:20 p.m., a Roma ISD spokesman, noting that the National Weather Service was predicting imminent heavy rains, high winds, and hail, indicated that the decision had been made to move the ceremony indoors.

On Friday, Ricardo Perez of Roma ISD indicated that the ceremony had been resumed and repeated from the beginning on an abbreviated basis in the Roma High Gymnasium. Attendance in the gym was limited to parents and very close relatives.

Perez later indicated that 352 seniors were awarded their diplomas. The Class of 2009 was by a considerable margin the largest graduating class in the history of Roma High School.

Numerous scholarships were awarded to many graduating seniors. The Class of 2009 graduates, the Roma High administration and staff, and the Roma ISD administration wholeheartedly thank the many scholarship contributors for their generous participation in the school’s scholarship program.

The featured speakers at the commencement were valedictorian Rolando Cantu, Jr. and salutatorian Anette Paola Barrera.

Cantu began his remarks by pointing out, “We are young people with many different backgrounds that came together in this class. We came through the difficult years of puberty. We came through times of adversity, including the loss of loved ones and friends.”

“Our high school career is a stepping stone for success in the real world,” explained the valedictorian. “Our intense need for fulfillment pushes us to strive to succeed. We thank our parents for holding our hands and helping us to press on. I thank God for blessing our efforts and guiding us.”

Cantu continued, “We thank our teachers for bringing out the potential in us. I thank my own parents, my brothers and sisters, and I thank all the teachers and coaches, especially those who made a special effort to help me.”

Cantu concluded, “This is our time. We are here, we are strong, and we are the future.”

A short time earlier, salutatorian Anette Paola Barrera began her address by commenting, “After 720 days at Roma High School, we are finally here. Graduation is no longer a countdown. Beginning tonight, we no longer live for ourselves.”

She declared, “High school brought about our first homework all-nighter, our first boyfriend or girlfriend, and the first time behind the wheel of a car. We made the best of our freshman years…Four years have taught us that we find out who we are after dealing with all the obstacles.”

“I thank my mom and dad, my sister, and my grandparents,” stressed the salutatorian. “My family is my stepping stone and support. My classmates are my family by heart. We have made friendships that are irreplaceable. Memories were made that we wouldn’t trade for anything else.”

Barrera insisted, “The future is not something that just happens to us; it is something we create. Graduation is our ticket to the real world; it is our ticket to creating a career, a marriage, a family and a livelihood.”

She concluded, “Do not forget the roots that you have created in this small town. The best is yet to come for the Mighty Gladiator Class of 2009.”

Prior to the salutatory and valedictory addresses, Roma High Principal Noe Muniz, Jr. declared, “I extend my congratulations to all the graduates, their teachers, and their parents. We honor them for all their accomplishments and contributions.”

In giving the welcome, ninth ranking graduate Ricardo Ali Sanchez emphasized, “Tonight we commemorate about the results of all these years of work and effort. Let us remember the special times and the friendships.”

Roel Reyes, Jr., fifth ranking graduate, introduced board members and their spouses. Jonathan Pena, fourth ranking graduate, introduced the high school principal and associate principals, counselors, and other administrators.

A message from the Roma ISD board of trustees was given by board president Elisa Vera-Lujano. She commented, “You all deserve to celebrate in style. I hope you feel a little sadness in saying goodbye to your friends at Roma High School.”

The board president continued, “I hope you see your teachers as your friends who had your best interests at heart. I hope you realize that quality education is a strong foundation for success in the work world.”

Vera-Lujano emphasized, “I hope you all make the right choices about what you want to do. Be flexible and be open to change. Life is too short to be doing something you don’t want to do. Find time to relax and enjoy light moments in life.”

“Work on developing yourself as a whole person,” suggested Vera-Lujano. “Be a good citizen and be responsible in dealing with others. Show your appreciation to all those who have helped and encouraged you.”

The board president concluded by urging the graduates, “Keep in touch and tell us of all your successes.”

The honor graduates, or top 10 students, were presented by Principal Muniz.

Following the board president’s remarks, the graduates were officially certified by Roma ISD Superintendent Jesus O. Guerra, Jr. Diplomas were then awarded by the board of trustees and administration, with this taking place after the ceremony had been moved indoors.

At the beginning of the ceremony, Maria de los Angeles Ramirez and Carlanne Denise Martinez led the audience in honoring the flag. The salute to the flag, the national anthem, was carried out under the direction of Mr. Adrian Guerra.

Early in the ceremony, the invocation was given by David Juan Isern, seventh ranking graduate.

Midway through the ceremony, after the valedictory address, the Class Song, “Little Wonders”, was played and sung. That song was written by Rob Thomas.

At the beginning of the ceremony, the processional, “Pomp and Circumstance”, was played by the Roma High School Band under the direction of Mrs. Dena Laurel. At the end of the ceremony, “Las Golondrinas” was played as the recessional by the Roma High School Mariachi under the direction of Mr. Nicolas Alanis.

After the recessional, the alma mater was played and sung under the direction of Mrs. Dena Laurel.

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