Roswell High seniors give and receive their final high school hugs before marching onto the Wool Bowl football field Friday evening for commencement ceremonies. (Mark Wilson Photo)
Two valedictorians, 11 sets of twins, 38 honor grads and 259 graduates happily threw their caps up in the air Friday evening after receiving their high school diplomas and graduating from Roswell High School.
With red and white balloons flying high at the Wool Bowl, the Fighting Coyotes proudly chanted the RHS Alma Mater for the last time.
â€œWhoâ€™s going to deny that we have spirit, that we have passion?â€ Sara Humaran asked her classmates in her salutatorian address. â€œI want you guys to have that same spirit and that same passion in everything you do past high school.â€
Co-valedictorians William Liakos and Sawyer Wilson, who have remained close friends since second grade, each congratulated their class mates and thanked their families and teachers for supporting them in their journey through high school.
â€œIâ€™m honored to be here speaking to this truly amazing class of students, as well as the people who took away our cell phones for four years â€” our teachers and administrators,â€ Liakos said, prompting laughter from the stands packed with family and friends.
Wilson told the crowd it was hard to imagine this moment was finally here, especially amid changes both in and outside of the school.
â€œAt Roswell High, weâ€™ve had three different principals, seen fences put up around the school and had to say our goodbyes to some of our most beloved teachers,â€ he said. â€œIn the outside world, we have a new president, the man responsible for 9/11 is now dead and Brett Favre has finally retired for good … maybe.â€
RHS Principal Ruben BolaÃ±os said he was proud of the Class of 2011 for its huge accomplishment, and that the graduates will be remembered for their extraordinary displays of community service, among other positive achievements.
â€œIâ€™m very proud,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s a great class.â€
Roswell Independent School District Superintendent Michael Gottlieb said he was honored to participate in the ceremony by presenting the 2011 graduating class before the presentation of diplomas.
â€œItâ€™s always my greatest honor to make this presentation,â€ he said with a smile.
He noted that several graduates won prestigious scholarships to help pay for college in the fall. One student won a three-year ride to the business school at the University of New Mexico, another earned a Daniels Fund Scholarship and one was the recipient of the Horatio Alger Scholarship, to name a few.
â€œThose are elite scholarships that are not just given to anybody,â€ BolaÃ±os said proudly.
The 2011 Class Motto was â€œOh, the places youâ€™ll go,â€ by Dr. Suess; the Class Flower was the Latin Lady; the Class Colors were escarlata and pearl white; and the Class Song was â€œHow Far Weâ€™ve Come,â€ by Matchbox 20.