Maurissa Munoz receives last-minute academic regalia adjustments as fellow graduate Morgan Jones looks on before Valley Christian Academy commencement ceremonies, Saturday afternoon. Mark Wilson Photo
Morgan Jones and Maurissa Munoz graduated from Valley Christian Academy on Saturday, completing a 12-year journey in formal education as the Class of 2012. They began in public schools before choosing a Christian education, a decision from which both said they would benefit for the rest of their lives.
“It’s the end of a road but the beginning of a new one,” Munoz said. “My school has been nothing short of wonderful. It’s been so great.
Everything has just been amazing; there are good teachers, there’s good education, there’s nothing bad I could say about it. …
“I’ll definitely take away a stronger relationship with God, and definitely a lot more education in English. There are a lot of things, but those are the biggest ones: A closer relationship with God, friendship and studies.”
Munoz said she will attend Eastern New Mexico University in Portales for two years, and then transfer to a Christian college out of state to pursue a career as a missionary. She said she hopes to set foot on every continent in the world.
Jones said he will look back fondly on his education at VCA. “I loved it. It really helped me a lot coming here. It’s just a really great school, and I think everybody coming here would enjoy it.”
Jones said he will attend a technical college in Texas to pursue a career as a John Deere mechanic.
“It’s great. I’m finally out in the world and I can work,” he said.
The graduates chose teacher Tanya Kraft to be their featured speaker. She provided Munoz and Jones with one final lesson. Using balloons, Kraft demonstrated how choices influence flight, and said that if the students maintain passion and a positive attitude, they will go far no matter what.
“I want you to imagine yourselves perfectly poised on the edge of today and tomorrow. Perfectly, perfectly poised,” Kraft said. “You finished this journey today, 12 years, all filled to the brim with knowledge, and all the life experiences that you gained from your past 12 years in formal education. Where are you going to go from here? It’s all up to you.
“From now on you get to choose your successes, and you get to choose your failures. It’s all yours. … You are the only one who can make your dreams come true. Your parents can’t do it for you, your friends can’t do it for you — you are the only ones who can make your dreams come true. …
“Pursue your future with passion. You know what passionate people are? They’re contagious. They know how to smile, and they know how to make other people feel special. They have enthusiasm, and they have an optimism that is just awesome. …
“Your attitude plus the knowledge you’ve gained in these past 12 years is going to determine your altitude — how high you fly in this life. If you have a positive outlook, you will see everything as an opportunity, and you’re going to put a positive spin on life. …
“A person with a positive attitude will be more energetic, more fun to be around, and those are the kind of people you’re going to want to surround yourself with.
“Remember this, though: The happiest people don’t always have the best of everything, they just make the best out of what they have.”