By Kevin Wilson
Mark Gore’s trip to Greyhound Arena was just a few miles from his cottage at the Baptist Children’s home.
What led him to the building, however, is part of a journey that has covered 18 years, two continents, thousands of miles and countless memories. The most recent memory was his graduation from Portales High School Friday night, along with 150-plus classmates at Greyhound Arena.
His journey will continue at Lubbock Christian University in the fall, and the Brazilian-born Gore could not be happier.
“I really had no hopes (of going to college),” Gore said.
His dreams and goals changed along the way, though, in the same fashion as many of his classmates. As students said goodbye to their classmates from the podium, most tried to convey a desire to forget petty matters that could be divisive, but at the same time remember times that helped the students bond.
“As you exit this building, know one thing,” salutatorian Josh Olguin said. “You must choose life, and then live.”
Valedictorian Amy Archibeque talked about the distant memories leading up to Friday — whether it was pushing somebody to get ahead in a line during grade school, or working together for one goal in sports or on a class project.
Archibeque will attend New Mexico State, as will Cassidy Merrick. Merrick gave the farewell address.
“We’ve had our ups and downs for sure,” Merrick said, “but this is definitely a moment we’ll cherish for the rest of our lives.”
For Gore, it was another night in a life that enters another stage. Gore’s time at PHS was mostly unheralded — his name carried no academic distinction in the program, and he was never a star in football or track.
But his path to PHS wasn’t the standard one. Gore was born Nov. 9, 1984, the youngest of 15 children in southern Brazil. He was put up for adoption when his family could not afford to care for him, and he ended up in Austin, Texas when he was 10.
He came to the area in 1997 and lived at the Baptist Children’s Home, and transferred from Floyd High School to PHS midway through his sophomore year.
Now, he will move on to LCU and major in business communication.
“I owe it all to God,” Gore said. “He’s the reason for it all. I had no idea that I’d be here … having a chance to better myself and further my life.”