More than 700 DVHS and ECHS seniors graduate from Del Valle ISD
Del Valle ISD, family, staff, and community members gathered at Strahan Arena at Texas State University on Thursday, May 25 to celebrate the graduating class of 2023.
More than 700 seniors from Del Valle High School and the Early College High School crossed the stage and officially became Cardinal alumni to the cheers of loved ones and the encouragement from speakers, including DVISD Superintendent Dr. Annette Tielle, ECHS Principal Jenise Wright, and DVHS Principal Kandice Smith. Of the graduating class, nearly 80 of them are ECHS students and 23 of them graduated with both their high school degree and an associate’s degree from Austin Community College.
ECHS seniors Milagros Ramirez Martinez and Nathaniel James are two of those who graduated with dual degrees, earning the top two spots of the class in the process. Milagros graduated as the Valedictorian and James as Salutatorian. The two addressed the class and attendees with speeches, crafted over the last few weeks with the help of their mentors at the high school.
“Today we are graduating. Who we are today marked everything we’ve learned in different environments,” Milagros said, referring to their freshman year being disrupted by the COVID pandemic. “Now we are mature young adults and for that we must thank the people who helped us along the way and the environments that forced us to grow.”
“How you do one thing is how you do everything,” Nathaniel quoted during his speech. As the oldest of his siblings, he said he’s doing that by graduating at the top of his class, creating a legacy for his family that comes after him.
“Never forget your story because you’re supposed to be here too,” he closed with, reminding seniors that their stories, their backgrounds provide a valuable foundation for their lives moving forward.
Both graduates plan to attend the University of Texas at Austin this fall. Milagros said she plans to study mechanical engineering and Nathaniel will pursue a pre-dental track.
Principal Jenise Wright advised students to use their five senses to guide their lives as they forge paths beyond the halls of Del Valle High School. To the five senses, she added intuition as the sixth that would keep them from getting into trouble.
“If you face challenges and challenging people, don’t keep them close to you. Walk in wisdom,” Principal Wright said.
In her remarks to the graduating class, Dr. Tielle told the class she’s proud of them as they are model students exuding traits her and the Board of Trustees developed as part of the district’s strategic plan: accountable, adaptable, critical thinkers, persistent, empathetic and more.
Dr. Tielle focused on these traits, referencing a question about what she hopes for her students.
“My hope for my students is to become adults who are kind, tolerant, empathetic, and respectful. In a world where tolerance, understanding, and compassion are often lacking, my hope for our students is for them to have patience, kindness, and open-mindedness. My hope is that our students will become adults who are supportive, kind-spoken, tolerant, and dependable. If that is who our students become, and I know and believe they will, then they will make our world a better place.”
She closed her speech by reminding the Class of 2023 that Del Valle will always be with them wherever they go.
“Remember, they can take you out of Del Valle, but they can never take Del Valle out of you.”
Principal Smith echoed the sentiments in her address to students and added that Del Valle students should go out into the world with their heads held high.
“Not only did you all navigate challenges as a result of the pandemic, but you also worked to get to this graduation. This marked a rebirth of the pride that has existed at Del Valle. Each of you will always have a special place in DV. Know that you are marked with DV greatness, and wherever you go, you stand above the rest.”
On Friday, May 26, the Del Valle Opportunity Center hosted its graduation ceremonies. Nearly 100 seniors at the DVOC earned their diplomas and celebrated surrounded, by family, friends and staff.
DVOC Principal Ray Macias addressed the group, asking them to consider what will make them happy and successful in life long term, not just on a day-to-day basis. Principal Macias stated that happiness can come in many forms, but being the best at what they do, and striving for success in all facets everyday, will lead to fulfilling lives.