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Graduation highlights

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Graduation highlights

HighlightsGraduation highlights

Photo: Gabriellie Torres, valedictorian

Gabriellie Torres is Bishop Martin High School’s 2024 valedictorian

by Kristen Ku

ORANGE WALK, Wed. June 5, 2024

Gabriellie Torres, 17, is Bishop Martin High School’s valedictorian for the year 2023-2024. The graduation ceremony, which took place on Saturday, June 1, at Muffles Junior College’s auditorium, was a celebration of the achievement of 85 graduates, who all lined up to receive their long-awaited high school diplomas.

Among them, 53 graduated with honors, including Torres, who was recognized as the highest achiever, with a 3.99 GPA, followed by salutatorian, Joselyn Fabro, and third-highest achiever, Kelroy Sosa, who delivered the Vote of Thanks.

Torres started her education at La Inmaculada School, where she did well academically. She became a student at Bishop Martin High School during the pandemic, and remained involved in various school activities.

She was a member of the Martian Green House, was a mentor for the Legacy Leaders and secretary of the student government in 2022, participated in the Tri Nacional forum in Chetumal, helped at St. Vincent de Paul Society, and represented her school on different occasions.

During the ceremony, speeches were delivered by the school’s principal, Angel Leiva, as well as by the guest speaker, Ms. Doreth Pascascio. Torres, along with her class, participated in presentations before delivering her own valedictory speech.

“Not a day will go by that I will not miss the laughter that echoed throughout the classroom. So many stories were created at Bishop. Each one of us has our own lessons learned and memories shared,” she remarked, acknowledging all those who supported her along the way. Among them in particular, was her mother, Lorelie Gongora.

“No, Mom, you haven’t had it easy; but I see your sacrifices and, despite the struggles, you push through each day to ensure that Carolee [her sibling] and I have everything you never had, to ensure that we never have to think about where our next meal would come from, because you wake up before sunrise to prepare breakfast and lunch before we go to school – all for love.”

She added, “Faith moves mountains. I say, from personal experience, that no matter how difficult a situation, no matter how impossible it may seem, only through Him will we find a solution. God gives the hardest battles to His strongest soldiers. It’s up to us how far our faith will take us.”

The diplomas were handed out by the chairman of the school’s board, Angel Cabrera, and the school’s principal.

Torres will be attending Corozal Junior College (CJC) where she will be studying Biology and Chemistry.

New Hope High School’s 19th graduation

ORANGE WALK TOWN, Wed. June 5, 2024

Graduation season in Orange Walk has arrived, with eight high school ceremonies and over a hundred students graduating from pre and primary schools. Situated on the San Antonio Road on the outskirts of Orange Walk Town, New Hope High School (NHHS) is among them, celebrating the achievement of nearly 50 graduates.

On Saturday, June 1, at the NHHS Multipurpose Hall, the school held its 19th graduation ceremony with the theme, “Boundless Faith, Limitless Future: Class of 2024 Soars.” This year, 47 students graduated in Business, Science, Business Science, and Vocational fields, with eleven earning honors.

Jazlene Chicas was among the top three students, with Cristal Valdez in second place, and Wendy Alvarez as the valedictorian.

“During my entire four years at New Hope High School, I have encountered a life that is split into two clear parts. One part of me consistently strived for perfection, approached tasks seriously, and devoted most of my time to studying and revising. Certainly, my life revolved around books, and I don’t feel any embarrassment admitting that I required ongoing review to strive for top grades. However, another part of me was vibrant and filled with vibrant personalities, comprised of real people who were my dearest companions and peers. How quickly time flies, doesn’t it?” she shared.

At 16 years old, Wendy graduated with a 4.0 GPA over the last three years, and plans to further her education at the University of Belize with a major in Business Science. She noted, however, that her journey was far from smooth.

“My personal journey has been far more challenging than expected. However, I have come to realize the importance of not letting others’ criticisms affect me. My relatives labeled me as the ‘perfect student’ who never faltered; yet, despite these expectations and various obstacles, I persevered. So, to my younger self who felt like surrendering, I’m proud that you didn’t give up,” she said.

The ceremony featured remarks by Dr. Jay Dickerson, the school’s founder, who was the guest speaker. Dr. Dickerson and the school’s principal, Eugenia Gongora, handed out the awards and diplomas.

The event concluded with the graduates singing, “I’ll Always Remember You.”

Nazarene High School’s Class of 2024

BELIZE CITY, Tues. June 4, 2024

One hundred and three graduates closed one chapter of their lives as they bid Nazarene High School farewell on Friday, May 31.

The school’s 56th commencement exercise was held under this year’s theme, “Celebrating Today’s Ending and Tomorrow’s Beginning,” and the valedictory speech was given by Jeremiah Griffith.

Griffith, who has been accepted to Saint John’s College Junior College to continue his studies in business, remarked in his speech, “Today is a celebration of those who have played a pivotal role in this remarkable journey,” and he acknowledged the contributions of the school’s board of governors, school leaders, teachers, parents, and his fellow graduates.

He reminisced about the transition from primary to secondary school during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the challenges of online learning. “My mom, who would make an exceptional addition to the Belize Police Department, served as the extra eyes and ears to ensure I remained on the right track,” Griffith said.

Griffith’s journey began at Queen Street Baptist Primary School, an often overlooked institution. “I stand proudly today proving that notion wrong. I am a living testament that with God, supportive parents, and a nurturing school community, not simply good but ‘great’ things come from Queen Street Baptist,” he said.

During his years at Nazarene High School, Griffith held various leadership roles, including that of class mentor, peer helper, prefect, and Head Boy. “Serving on the Student Council provided an opportunity to share fond memories with like-minded students,” he added.

The director of the ceremony, Annylyn Apolonio, and the school’s principal, Dr. Elisa Seguro, praised the graduates’ achievements, along with guest speaker, Mrs. Marcie Carballo, who also provided motivational words for both the students and parents.

The top three achievers of the graduating class were Jeremiah Griffith, Dianna Diaz, and Diamond Pascascio. Of the 103 graduates, 29 graduated with honors.

Esmeralda Lopez is Wesley JC’s 2024 valedictorian

BELIZE CITY, Tues. June 4, 2024

Wesley Junior College (WJC) held its 19th commencement exercise this past Saturday at the Belize City Civic Center, to honor 120 graduates who received Associate degrees in various fields. These included Business Studies, General Studies, Information Technology, Adult Continuing Education, and Paralegal Studies.

Esmeralda Lopez, 25, was recognized as the valedictorian. López, an employee of United Airlines, graduated with a cumulative GPA of 3.98 in Business Studies.

“I had set a personal goal that meant a lot to me. I have two younger sisters who, like me, attended Ladyville Technical High School. The key difference between us is that both of my sisters graduated as valedictorians of their respective classes, while I graduated with honors. At that time, I felt I could have done better. From that moment on, I promised myself that when I pursued my Associate Degree, I would strive to be the valedictorian and top my graduating class,” she said during her valedictory address.

Lopez expressed her gratitude to God, her family, friends, and the faculty at Wesley Junior College. She also acknowledged the support and inspiration from her classmates, especially highlighting a classmate who returned to school at age 48 and graduated with honors at 51. Another was a single mother who juggled work, school, and parenthood.

“When it seems like everything is against you, find that one reason to push forward. Hold onto your dreams and chase them with all your heart. Believe in yourself, stay strong, and take one step at a time. You have the power to achieve great things. Keep going, and don’t give up!” she added.

The ceremony included speeches from the dean, Mrs. Eleanor Gillett, and guest speaker, Mrs. Shakera Forrester, who both inspired the graduates with their words of wisdom and encouragement.

Lopez’s future plans include pursuing a Bachelor’s degree. She has been accepted to both the University of Belize (UB) and Galen University, but has not yet decided which institution to attend. If she chooses UB, she will study Business Administration with a major in management. If she selects Galen, she will be studying Business Administration while concentrating on accounting.

In closing her address, Lopez urged her fellow graduates to commit their dreams and goals to the Lord, and watch their plans succeed. “Good things don’t come easy,” she reminded them. “Go for whatever you set your mind to, and tackle it with determination.”

Wesley College holds graduation exercise

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. June 6, 2024

Last night at the Civic Center, the valedictorian of Wesley College’s 2024 graduating class, Alyssa Fisher, along with one hundred and twenty-nine of her peers, filed into a rather dark room, holding lanterns as they walked to their seats in front of a crowded audience who flashed their camera lights to capture the moment before the lights were put back on.

Though dressed in their school uniform, a few were adorned with gold cords indicating their rank as the top 5 achievers. However, there were three who wore both cords and a graduation sash as the top 3 students: Alyssa Fisher (1st), Kyler James (2nd), and Joshua Lauriano (3rd).

Key segments of the ceremony were the principal’s address, delivered by Ms. Sherrilyn Welch, and the commencement address, by educator and Wesley College alumnus, Mrs. Beatrice Geban.

Following the distribution of the diplomas, awards, and certificates, all eyes were on Fisher, the valedictorian of this year’s graduation class.

“As someone who is visually impaired, I have come to understand that true vision goes beyond what we see with our eyes. It lies in the clarity of our purpose, the strength of our convictions, and the depth of our compassion. Wesley College has been a nurturing ground, where these qualities have been instilled in each of us,” she expressed.

“These past four years have certainly been a testament to the power of perseverance. I have faced countless challenges … yet, through every trial I have faced, I have held onto the belief that education is the key to unlocking endless possibilities, regardless of one’s limitations,” she went on to say.

Impressively, 16-year-old Alyssa was able to maintain a 4.0 GPA throughout her four years of Academic General studies at Wesley. With the help of teachers, classmates, and her family, she was able to have a full high school experience, excelling in her classes and putting in the work despite the difficulties she faced.

“Thank you, Wesley College, for shaping me into the person I am today; thank you, classmates, for including me in all you did on this incredible journey; and thank you, family, for believing in me when I doubted myself,” she added.

Graduating with honors amongst 35 other students, Alyssa is planning to attend Galen University next year, where she will major in either history or science.

TCC graduation ceremony

PUNTA GORDA TOWN, Toledo District, Wed. June 5, 2024

A total of 125 students graduated from Toledo Community College (TCC) over the weekend in a ceremony held in Punta Gorda Town.

Hosted by Vanna Noralez, the ceremony included musical renditions by the graduates, distribution of awards and diplomas, and speeches by both the principal, Shaunna Sanchez, and the guest speaker, Dr. Jennifer Cascaret.

Another highlight was the valedictory speech, which was delivered by 16-year-old business student, Parys Pate.

Drawing from the ceremony’s theme, “Unveiling Tomorrow’s Leaders: Igniting Our Potential, Scaling New Heights, and Embracing the Beauty of Our Dreams,” she remarked, “This theme refers to the idea that we, the graduates, do possess the power to shape our future and recognize our capabilities and proficiency to achieve anything we set our minds to. This will lead us to reach higher heights and accept our dreams for what we desire them to be. Doing this will enable us to be true assets in our society, while leaving legacies behind that determine our successes.”

Graduating with a GPA of 4.0, Pate shared the stage with the other two of the top 3 achievers: Aliyah Gutierrez, who was the salutatorian, and Khalilah Coy, who delivered the Vote of Thanks.

The 41st commencement exercise also recognized the 23 students who graduated with honors in fields that included Arts, Business, Science, Agriculture, Industrial Technology, and Tourism.

Recognition was additionally given to students who topped their particular department.

In closing, Pate encouraged her fellow graduates as they set out to create their own paths.

“As we depart from here today, let us be aware that this is just the start of another phase in our lives and not the end of our adventure. Remember, we are tomorrow’s leaders, who will be igniting our potential, scaling new heights, and embracing the beauty of our dreams, as we become the next Einsteins, great business venturers, doctors, politicians, teachers, engineers, and many more stars that will mold the fabric of the future Belize,” she said. “Recognize the possibilities and challenges that lie ahead as essential components of personal development. With bravery and perseverance, we will confront the future head-on in search of genuine fulfillment and prosperity.”

Pate intends to attend Saint John’s College Junior College in Belize City, where she will be majoring in Business Administration.

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