More than 90 Bishop High School seniors crossed the stage Friday at Texas A&M University-Kingsville’s Steinke Physical Education Center to receive their diplomas at the school’s Class of 2019 commencement ceremony.

Following the processional and the United States and Texas pledges led by senior class president and class valedictorian Leila Villalobos, BHS Principal Andi Kuyatt welcomed the graduates and their family and friends to the ceremony.

“As you enter the world tomorrow as a graduate, you will face many important decisions and opportunities,” Kuyatt said.

Kuyatt said the most important thing for the soon-to-be graduates would be for them to “live your life with integrity” and “do the right thing.”

“Your kindness to others is what will be remembered,” she said.

Salutatorian Alexis Ruiz was next with her address, beginning with a prayer before telling her fellow seniors how proud she was of each and every one of them for accomplishing “one of the major milestones of our lives – high school graduation.”

“The security of the school environment and the support of our teachers will shortly fall away,” Ruiz said. “We will have to learn to be self-motivated. We will have to speak up and take action, without the help of our parents or guardians. We will have to stop procrastinating, and I’m serious when I say stop procrastinating.”

Ruiz said the day marked the beginning of a new chapter in their lives as well as to their future success. She then discussed the importance of setting goals and staying motivated.

“All throughout our lives, we are going to have some setbacks,” she said. “It’s important to not let the difficult times define who we are.”

Ruiz then talked about her parents divorcing when she was young, and how growing up in a broken home had been “a major setback,” but not one that she let define the person she would become.

“I am sharing my story here today to show each and every one of you what I faced, and how I was capable of achieving what I had always dreamed of,” she said. “It is hard talking about what I went through, but I am pleased at where I am today.”

After speaking about her own support system and thanking family and friends, Ruiz closed by telling her fellow seniors that each of them was “destined for greatness.”

“Congratulations, Class of 2019,” she said. “The future is truly in your hands. Good luck.”

Villalobos then returned to the stage for her valedictory address, and also began with a prayer. She then talked to her fellow soon-to-be graduates about “our futures, what our future holds and how every one of you is capable of success.”

“Your future is truly what you make of it,” Villalobos said. “We began high school four years ago, thinking it would never end. But now that it’s ending, it feels like we barely started.”

Villalobos said high school taught them the basic education they will now use for their futures, whether they are going to college or diving straight into the workforce. She said they would all face challenges in their lives, but it is how they choose to deal with those challenges that will determine their successes.

“Many of us will give up or not take any chances,” she said. “My advice to you is to take those chances. Every single one of them. What do we have to lose?”

“Do what you want to do,” she added. “It’s your life, so live it the way you want to.”

Villalobos finished her valedictory address by thanking friends, family and her graduating class.

“Thank you for making my last four years amazing and influencing me to be a better person,” she said. “I wish all of you good luck in your future endeavors, and remember that this is only the end of a small chapter in your book of life. I hope you all fill it with no regrets and endless memories to last a lifetime.”

Following the valedictory and salutatory addresses, the BHS Class of 2019 honor students were recognized, as well as the seniors who earned college credits and received scholarships. 

Superintendent Christina Gutierrez then certified the class.

Bishop High School graduated 93 seniors this year. After the presentation of diplomas, student council president Madeline Salinas gave the closing comments, and graduates performed their alma mater one final time.

Anthony Ruiz can be contacted at aruiz@king-ranch.com or (361) 221-0251.

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