VINELAND – “I did it for them,” Vineland High School graduate Itzel Herrera wrote on her mortarboard honoring her prolonged household of mentors.
Her family members impressed her journey to Gittone Stadium the place she was among the many 538 graduates to be awarded a diploma on Wednesday.
“Over the past four years, these graduates have worked, studied, practiced, prayed, played, and grown in so many ways,” stated Superintendent Alfonso Llano, addressing the challenges they’ve overcome.
A lethal virus pressured college students from the colleges throughout their sophomore and junior years.
Now they cross by way of steel detectors to enter center and highschool buildings.
The 144th graduation featured “a higher level of safety than we’ve had in the past,” the superintendent stated, noting the rise in shootings throughout the nation. “We want to make sure we are taking every precaution to keep our kids safe.”
Graduates confirmed no worry on the subject of pursuing their goals.
Yahira Cuevas, the senior class president, is the primary in her household to attend school. Her dad and mom, when barely older than she is now, moved from Oaxaca, Mexico to Cumberland County the place Cuevas excelled at her research. She is heading to Arizona State University to check neuro-biological sciences and pursue a profession in medication.
Cuevas shared her pleasure within the VHS Class of 2022 range.
“We have some students that have come from different countries and have worked very hard in order to be able to receive their diplomas,” she stated in her tackle.
In Spanish, the category chief stated she was pleased with them and congratulated their households.
When his world appeared smaller through the quarantine, John Howard centered on larger goals.
“Even through these trials and tribulations, I’m thinking about my future and it motivates me to keep on going through rough times,” stated the graduate. “I don’t like to settle, I try to shoot higher and higher, I’m never satisfied.”
Around his neck he wore a necklace inscribed with the picture of his late grandfather, Glenroy Howard.
“He taught me how to be a respectful man, he taught me how to live with God,” he stated, touching the necklace. “I bring him everywhere I go, he’s my motivation.”
Howard’s plan is to earn a enterprise diploma and get his actual property and barber licenses.
“Entrepreneurship is the best thing for me,” he stated.
Rodrick Zapanta was hard-pressed to element all of the honorary cords, medals, and stoles draped round his shoulders signifying his tutorial success. He was one among 16 seniors within the district’s Applied Math and Sciences to earn an affiliate diploma from Rowan College of South Jersey earlier than accepting a highschool diploma.
“I am grateful that we were given that opportunity,” stated Zapanta, who was additionally the VHS tennis group captain.
“It’s important to be well-rounded, I picked that up early,” he stated.
Zapanta is enrolled at Rutgers University to check digital/laptop engineering.
“Life has a way of teaching you lessons,” scholar authorities affiliation president Azia Rogers instructed her classmates.
She likened her four-year highschool expertise to a trek alongside the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.
“The bridge leads to a tunnel and you’re so anxious to get out of that tunnel that you’re not paying attention to time and distractions,” Rogers stated. “I was not OK, but I held my ground and made it here today.”
She urged her classmates to be affected person, humble, and true to themselves.
“When things get tough always go back and remember why you’re doing this,” Rogers stated.
To reinforce the message, the category received a pep discuss from a shock speaker, Isiah “Pop” Pacheco.
“I was sitting in these seats four year ago,” Pacheco stated. “I’m here to tell you today that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and education.”
He recounted how “hard work, perseverance and dedication” resulted in a scholarship to Rutgers University, the place he earned his diploma.
Then with a smile, he added, “I was recently drafted to the Kansas City Chiefs,” to cheers from the packed stands.
VHS Principal Suzette DeMarchi touted the achievements of the Class of 2022 together with these in teachers, athletics, and the humanities.
“You are truly a resilient and amazing group of students; You have proven over and over that nothing is beyond reach,” she stated. “Remember graduation day is not the end, it is just the beginning.”
The graduates left behind a present for future VHS college students. They funded a bench to be positioned within the butterfly backyard situated close to the VHS 11-12 performing arts wing entrance.
“After going through the pandemic, it really was important to us to make sure they capture those little moments,” Cuevas stated. “Sit down, relax. and enjoy the time that they have with each other.”