Graduation season. It’s an exciting and intimidating time of year for high school seniors across eastern New Mexico.
The Clovis High School graduation is set for 10 a.m. May 21 at the Curry County Events Center and the Portales High School graduation is set for 7 p.m. May 27 at Greyhound Arena.
“We look at the ceremony itself as a formal occasion to celebrate their accomplishments,” said CHS counselor and graduation coordinator Pam Cornelison.
Seniors at both schools have different take on the ceremony and what it means.
“It feels kinda weird,” said Leah Smith, 17, of PHS. “I never thought I’d get to this point but now that I’m here, It’s kind of hard to believe I’m here, but I’m excited to graduate.”
Smith said she will be going to Xavier University in New Orleans, La., as a pre-medical major.
“I’m looking forward to it, meeting new people and being in a place where I can find myself without anybody helping me,” she aid. “I’m a little nervous but excited to see what will happen.”
She said her parents often push her to do things on her own to prepare her for being in college.
Clovis High School senior Alejandra Chavez, 18, is also going into the medical field as a pharmacist.
“My grandfather got sick last year and died of a brain tumor,” Chavez said. “Ever since then, I’ve known I wanted to do something in the medical field.”
She will begin school at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces and finish at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
“It’s happy and sad,” Chavez said of graduating. “Happy because we’re starting a new chapter and sad because we’re leaving all our friends and some of the best years of our lives.”
Bryan Wygant , 18, of CHS, said he will be attending Texas Tech University in Lubbock as a chemistry major, but does not know yet what he will do with his degree.
“I’m excited but at the same time, I’m a little bit nervous because I’m leaving behind everything I’ve known for so many years,” Wygant said. “The idea of going to college and seeing new people is interesting.”
Trisha Flores, 18, of PHS, said she does not yet know what she wants to do, but has ideas, such as music and psychology.
She said she is not intimidated about being on campus because she will be attending Eastern New Mexico University in Portales and already knows a lot of the university community.
“I’m excited to meet new people and to grow up more,” she said.
Pamela Nelson-Ray, assistant principal of PHS, said overall, they have a great, ambitious group of seniors graduating this year.
“It’s amazing getting to see them walk across that stage,” Ray said, fighting back tears. “Your heart just explodes with joy because you know what they went through to get there.”