The second-largest graduating class in Glen Rose High School history crossed the stage last Friday night during the commencement ceremony in the high school auditorium.
There were 127 graduates, including valedictorian Jordan Nabors (107.643 GPA) and salutatorian Andrea Mendoza (106.732 GPA). Tommy Corcoran, superintendent of operations for the GRISD, said that total ranks only below the number of the graduates in the Class of 2013.
“It’s a wonderful night,” Corcoran said. “The graduation ceremony is a way to celebrate their achievements since kindergarten.
“It’s a point of pride, to come from the K through 12th (grade) experience, for them. It’s a very emotional time. It’s exciting because they are off to another chapter in their life.”
The 2018 winner of the Tiger’s Eye award was presented to Glennis D. Million by Superintendent Wayne Rotan.
Senior Class President Grace Hill spoke to give the class history, and the GRHS Choir then performed the inspirational Josh Groban song, “You Raise Me Up.”
As the graduates crossed the stage, Glen Rose ISD board of trustees Kelley Snodgrass, Jason Dillard, Andy Snow, Brady Brown, Wade Busch, Marilyn Phillips and Paul Phillips took turns handing out diplomas.
Rotan then shook hands with each graduate, who paused as the audience was treated to something new for this year’s graduation. Each graduate recorded a personal message, and those audio sound bytes — some humorous and some poignant — were played for those in attendance. Some thanked family members and teachers, and some even acknowledged lifelong friends who had completed the journey together all the way from kindergarten.
In her commencement speech, Nabors noted, “Every one of us has come so far to get to this night, even if we barely made it here, we made it, and that is something to be proud of.”
Nabors encouraged her classmates to “take chances and make mistakes” — ideas that one of her grade-school class teachers, Mrs. Frizzle, had encouraged years before.
“This sounds like a common phrase, but after hearing many college graduates’ perspectives and regrets, it applies not only to our educational paths, but our entire lives as well,” stated Nabors.
Nabors also gave her take on the community that helped shaped the lives of the graduates and suggested that it will remain their foundation.
“Glen Rose is such a unique town, where we’ve been encouraged to try anything and everything, where the community selflessly contributes to the school without hesitation, and most importantly where peers can become family,” Nabors said. “So in a time when we are stepping out into the unknown, we can find some comfort in the idea that we always have a family which we are a part of and can rely on for support.”
Nabors then revealed the dreams she has for the class.
“I hope we all show leadership in everything that we do, remembering where we came from and knowing who to turn to when difficult tasks and decisions come our way. I hope that we all continuously and tirelessly strive to achieve all things our hearts desire, even if we have to uproot our entire lives, leaving everything that we’ve known, because in the end the pursuit of happiness and the passion to succeed are the qualities that are most important attributes to possess.”
Mendoza told her classmates, “Never again will we all be together like this, so I am going to take advantage of this moment and say that I am proud of all of you. I am proud that all 127 of us have successfully completed the first major challenge of life.
“We, through hard work, determination, and some procrastination, have beat the first level of the greatest game. All of you should have pride in yourselves for the diploma you are about to receive because that piece of paper is the result of 12 years of your life that you have used wisely.”
Then Mendoza also elaborated on the concept that the graduates have been shaped, in part, by the community.
“I want us all to remember what we have experienced at Glen Rose High School, and by that I mean I want us to not forget what has shaped us. I hope we don’t forget the laughing, the crying, the stress, the late nights, the early mornings, the oversleeping, the procrastinating, and the simple joy of being a high schooler because that is the foundation that has helped create us into what we are today. Those experiences are what formed us into responsible, hardworking young adults who are prepared for what awaits us. Even though we may have some unease about the future, we are ready for it.”
Outside after the ceremony and the traditional cap toss, Ashley Hang, the third-ranked student in the class, suggested that the reality of graduating may come later.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet — and I’m trying so hard not to cry,” said Hang, who was born in Kentucky, and moved here from Florida in time to start first grade in Glen Rose. “It’s so overwhelming in a very good way.”
Hang said she is heading for the University of Texas in Austin, where she intends to major in business and become a CPA.
In addition to Nabors, Mendoza and Hang, the other graduates in the top 10 percent academically (in order, based on grade-point averages) are Grace Hill, Savannah Culpepper, Emma Bozarth, Adriana Herrera, Payte Treadaway, Madison Roberson, Sydney Lozier, Allyson Andress, Emily Darby and Isela Delgado.
Honor graduates (numerical GPA of 90 or above, listed alphabetically by last name) —Allyson Andress, Marissa Beaman, Lilly Birdwell, Kelsey Bishop, Emma Bozarth, Amalie Brewer, Annie Bryant, London Bulliner, Valeria Castro, Savannah Culpepper, Emily Darby, Isela Delgado, Sandy Delgado, Madison Fisher, James Flynn, Michael Gillentine, Stephania Gomez, Rachel Gosdin, Connor Hansen, Ashley Hang, Adriana Herrera, Grace Hill, Cooper Holder, Zachary Ibarra, Morgan Kirby, Nicholas Lara, Sydney Lozier, Andrea Mendoza, Cayden Miller, Jordan Nabors, Karli Nobles, Cheyenne Noisey, Madison Roberson, Breana Rosentreter, Mikayla Ross, Weston Rynders, William Schmidt, Jessie Schoeder, Dawsyn Sharp, Lane Smajstrla, Irving Soler, Tanner Stroud, Logan Thames, Tyler Torres, Payte Treadaway, Rheagan Whitefield and Desiree Yzaguirre.