Pictured: Graduation caps flew through the sky as the 240 graduates yelled in excitement after the traditional burning of the "A" began. Photo by OFELIA GARCIA HUNTER

Graduation held Friday at Memorial Stadium

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

Large signs, balloons and flowers were displayed by family members in the stands as their sons and daughters walked into Memorial Stadium as the tune of "Pomp and Circumstance" was played by the band in the background.

The Class of 2007 included 240 graduates.

Memorial Stadium, despite the heavy rains during the day, was filled with family and friends with blaring horn noises, cheers and yelling out support for the graduates. One by one, each graduate walked in front of their family and friends and they were seated in the middle of the field.

Alice High School principal Berta Longoria welcomed those present and the valedictorian and salutatorian addressed the crowd.

Ammar Ashraf, the salutatorian, first thanked his parents in their native language before advising his class about self-growth.

"It's about looking in the mirror at the end of the day and loving the person who is looking back at you," he told his class. "…perhaps the friendships will fade away, but the memories will go on."

Valedictorian Samantha Galindo said the accomplishment of graduating is something for which to be proud.

"Do not dwell upon what could have been…in each of our way we accomplished something and we should be proud of that," she said. "Your life is in your own hands. Today, as I say farewell, I do so sadly. I love you and I will never forget you."

Longoria then announced the Outstanding Boy and Outstanding Girl award to Ruben Hinojosa and Victoria Perez. And a Perfect Attendance award was given to Leah Gonzalez, for attending school for 12 years in a row without missing a day.

During the ceremony, superintendent Henry Herrera certified the graduates as each student moved their tassel from the right to the left side. In alphabetical order, each graduate walked across the front of the stage and received their diplomas with cheers and excitement from the audience. Silence was felt and tears were shed when Chance Brandt's name was announced and his mother accepted a diploma on his behalf as she was escorted by Holden Haggerton. Chance lost his life during the school year.

Graduate Ernie Gutierrez, 17, said his graduation day is the start of a new adventure.

"This is the end of a day, but the beginning of a new adventure of life," he said. "It's real weird, I feel it's like a dream."

After all the 240 graduates took their walk, they joined hands for the school song. They proceeded to the north side of the stadium for the traditional throwing of the caps and the lighting of the burning "A."

"It feels great," said Paul Gomez as he picked up his graduation cap. "I will probably chill out for a while and then go to tech school."

Clarissa Garza was hugging a friend and wiping away tears as she tried to find her mother on the crowded field.

"It's so cool," she said.

Another graduate agreed.

"It's amazing," Kirsten Galvan said. "I'm happy and I'm glad."