1992 graduate Riojas was guest speaker

Sue Fleming, The Freer Press

Freer ISD held commencement exercises last Friday night in Buckaroo Stadium honoring the Class of 2007.

The ceremony began with the invocation given by Meggan Bridwell followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Kyrie Pacely.

Tricia Salinas introduced special guests, which included school board members Edna Cantu-president, Christina Lichtenberger-vice president, Mary Lou Garza-secretary, Calvin Evans, Saul Hinojosa, Larry Robertson and Roy Salazar, as well as class sponsors John Barton, Robert Ford, Phil Lackey, Jessica Montez and James Williams, superintendent Edgar Camacho, high school principal Ramon Pulido, teachers, administration and parents of the 46 graduates.

The Salutatory welcome address was then given by Malerie Eeds.

Afterward, Lisa Zapata introduced the guest speaker, Fred Riojas, a 1992 graduate of FHS. Riojas graduated from Texas A and M Corpus Christi in 1997 with a degree in criminology and has been a Texas State DPS trooper since 1997. He has been a civil disturbance management member, a narcotics canine handler and served two years in the U.S. Secret Service.

Riojas currently is a supervisor of five field offices in San Antonio and also serves as Drivers License Sergeant.

"It is a true honor to stand before you today, I feel I have come full circle tonight. As a graduate of FHS, it is a privilege to represent my community and school today," he said.

Riojas said the Class of 2007 has proven they have achieved success by obtaining an education and said he wanted to talk more about the meaning of success.

"My first year of college, I was struggling in biology class. The course was challenging and difficult so I decided to seek guidance from my professor," he explained. "He asked me if my high school had made me a winner or a loser and as I stood there, I reflected back upon my education and experiences I'd learned in school."

Riojas spoke of thinking about all of the dedicated teachers, coaches, the encouragement of family, and the community's strong sense of pride he had known as a student in Freer.

"I told the professor, my school did not make me a winner or a loser, but instead it taught me how to be successful," he said. "There is difference in winning, losing or being successful. When you're successful, you win some and you lose some, and it's those times when you reflect back on positive and negative outcomes, learn from them and apply them to your life."

He said his education in Freer provided core values of life's lessons and gave him a foundation on which to build upon in order to become successful.

Riojas told the graduates as they go into the world tomorrow, they will have to rely upon their own core values to build a foundation, and in doing so, they each will become a person of success.

"It's so easy to waste our lives, our days, our hours and our minutes; it's so easy to take for granted the time we have," he said. " I remind you, that we all have the power to choose to be successful and we all have the choice to overcome adversity."

Riojas said the world is a large and amazing place.

"It is your time to step into it," he said. "Take your diplomas into the world and commit to a life of self-worth, value, opportunity and character. In doing so, may you achieve all success you deserve."

A token of appreciation was then presented to Riojas by Kara Lerma.

Seve Alaniz followed with the Valedictory farewell address.

High school counselor Katrina Najera then announced $45,750 in local scholarships had been presented to the recipients during a special assembly the previous week and thanked the benefactors.

Afterward, the high school diplomas were presented to the graduates by school board members, each congratulated as well by Pulido and Camacho.

As a special tribute to the parents, the song "My Wish" was introduced by Alyssa Escobar followed by Carina Moreno who introduced the class song, "So Close Now."

The school Alma Mater was sung afterward, accompanied by the Freer High School Band. The service closed with the benediction, which was given by Samantha Diaz.