By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer
FLOYD — Moments after watching her daughter receive her high school diploma, Kathy Hale’s eyes welled up with tears when she talked about the child she once taught in a home-school setting.
“I’m very, very proud of her. She’s come a long way,” Hale said. “It’s just the beginning for her.”
Randi Hale, class salutatorian, was joined by her 14 senior classmates on the stage at Floyd High School Saturday afternoon, honoring the class of 2007. As Hale noted, some are just beginning their educational pursuits.
“This day is the beginning of life,” Randi said. “For some people, it’s just a closing, but for me it’s the beginning — off to college and off to work.”
Randi will soon pack up for New Mexico State, as she plans on majoring in business with a minor in accounting.
“We’re all moving on, we’re all moving forward,” Hale said. “And we’re leaving behind friends.”
For some graduates, like Shawn Atencio, the parchment is proof of family pride. Atencio says he may attend Clovis Community College to become a massage therapist.
“It’s a big accomplishment,” Atencio said. “I’m the first one on my grandmothers’ side of the family of the grandchildren to graduate. It feels good. I’m happy.”
Karen Montgomery, mother of graduate Brice Kelm, is proud of her son as well — not just for the accomplishment, but because he stuck with it.
“This means a lot to me. He’s the fourth one in our whole family to graduate. He’s real excited, he’s ready to get out,” Montgomery said.
“I am so very proud of him, because I didn’t really think he was going to get there. There was a time when I thought he was going to give up.”
Some graduates had extended family members travel for the event. Victor Martinez, a family friend of Floyd senior Linda Carrillo, traveled from Amarillo to show support.
“We came to encourage her to keep on with school and to go on to college,” Martinez said.
Hale and Atencio were just two of the Floyd scholars who were glad they had the opportunity to learn in a small town.
“The teachers — you build such a relationship with them. (At bigger schools) some people hardly know half of their classmates and the students here are like family,” Hale said.
“It’s good to have a small school, because everybody knows everybody,” Atencio said. “We feel more comfortable with each other and it’s a lot better because graduation goes a lot faster too.”