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CENTENNIAL CELEBRATES 138TH COMMENCEMENT

 Andrew Zhang and his parents stand on stage at commencement. For the 138th time since the school’s founding, 169 Bulldogs capped four years of education at the North Side school by accepting a diploma Saturday morning in an Events Center awash in bright red and even brighter hopes for the future.
 
This year’s class of Bulldogs is, academically, very high achieving. Led by Top Scholar Andrew Zhang, whose awards included the Boettcher and Hurliman Scholarships, and a Gates Foundation Scholarship which he accepted to attend Stanford University, the Class of 2022 has been rewarded with $5.3 million in scholarships.
 
Scholars will carry on the Bulldog tradition at such universities as Colorado School of Mines, the University of Colorado, the University of Denver, Regis, and locally, Colorado State University Pueblo and Pueblo Community College.
 
Scholarship recipients include Emily Shafer, Gabriel Hirsch, Audrianna Sauceda, Shelbi Silva, My Huynh, Marissa Aragon, Simone Matzner, Alyssa Coon, Jason Martinez, Korey Bowen, Jordan Pacheco, Sofia Kamal, Talia Montera, Alexis Gonzals, Kimberly Murillo, Gabriella Vigil, Abby Briggs, Marlena Archuletta, Larissa Romero; Teah Valdez, Julian Apodaca, Nadia Jackson, Santana Reyes, Joseph Lopez, Marisela Flores, Aidan Martinez, Breeanna Greer, Kailey Kinney, Gregory Briseno, Austin Chase, Asher Petz, Nathan Estrada;
Alisha Serena, Paige Flores, James Moblay, Andrew Zhang, Jenna Lewis, Jocelyn Lopez, Gia Taylor, Vianet Reyna, Mya Rodriguez, Cayman Wallace, Richard Toupal, Francisco Pangtay, Elise Pasquin, Michael Algien, Marissa Anaya, Mianna Aragon, Emelicia Hernandez, Zarin Hund, Ulayna Madrid, Sadie Mahanna, Angel Prieto, Alysia Ross; Rowan Yoxey.
 
Principal David Craddock lauded the graduates as true carriers of the Centennial banner.
 
“There is a tradition of excellence at Centennial, and this class is a proud representation of the very best Pueblo has to offer,” Principal Craddock said. “Where ever they may go, I am confident that they will continue to honor our community as they make their mark on the world. A Centennial scholar wearing her mortar cap as she arrives at her graduation
 
“You have handled this high school journey with grace, scholarship and humanness. You have led this school well and served as exemplars for our underclassmen showing them how to function, succeed and enjoy their time at Centennial.”
 
After this welcome, Gregory Briseno, the 2022 Student Body President spoke on the importance of being leaders and teachers of the young.
 
“What does it take to be the teachers of tomorrow? I do know that if anyone has what it takes to find out, it’s this brilliant group of young men and women who sit here in front of me,” Mr. Briseno said. “Ladies and gentleman, this group, the Class of 2022, will do it. I’m willing to bet everything on that. All I ask is that you sit back and watch: watch as we change the world and watch what we do has never been done.”
 
Top Scholar Zhang, who distinguished himself in the classroom as well as in extra-curricular activities like Speech and Debate and FBLA, was presented with a special plaque signifying his high academic standing by Principal Craddock as Mr. and Mrs. Zhang looked on.
 
In his address, Top Scholar Zhang focused on discovering one’s true self.
 
“I hope you are able to remember and hold on to your individual stories as long as you can,” he said. “The ones you forged through experience, work and fun. All of our lives, we’ve been asked the question, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up.?’ As I’ve grown up, I realize just how little we know about what we want to be.
 
“In the pursuit of achieving accomplishments and goals, we may lose sight of who we want to be. I wish there was a guide, with all the answers, to what every decision is going to lead to. However, life is not that way. I think society’s greatest flaw is in asking ‘what we should be,’ and we forget to ask ‘who we should be.’
 
“Let us be proud of not being what we are expected to be but instead, happy of who we are and the progress we’ve made.”
 
In the Latin Laude System, the following scholars accepted their diplomas in the top tier designation of Summa Cum Laude with Distinction:
 
Andrew Zhang, Nadia Jackson, Sofia Kamal, Aidan Martinez (also earned an Associate Degree from PCC), Alysia Ross, Meena Ropp, Audriana Sauceda, Teah Valdez.
 
Two friends pose for a selfie prior in their caps and gowns prior to the ceremonyEarning Summa Cum Laude with Honors were Austin Chase, Paige Flores, Jenna Lewis, Talia Montera, Elise Pasquin,
 
Summa Cum Laude with Merit graduates are Manuel Delosreyes Mendoza, Nathan Estrada, Marisela Flores, Kailey Kinney, Araceli Montanez Florez, Kimberly Murillo, Santana Reyes, Alisha Serena, Arrianna Shaw, with Summa Cum Laude designation earned by Marissa Aragon, Gabriel Hirsch, Victoria Pfington, Ibrahimy Rojas Alfaro.
 
Given the spotlight were military commitments from this year’s class, with a moment of remembrance offered for those who served this country but never returned.
 
District 60 Board of Education Member Barb Clementi accepted the Class of 2022 as presented by Principal Craddock, with Superintendent Charlotte Macaluso conferring the diplomas on the graduates, who were then congratulated on stage by representatives of the District and Centennial administration.
 
As Senior Class President, Victoria Pfingston led the tassel change, which was followed by a jubilant rendition of the school fight song, “On Centennial.”
 
In her remarks, President Pfingston, alluded to the brevity of time.
 
“This is the day: we’ve dreamed of its quick delivery, counting down the years, months, and days, and now, it’s finally here,” she said. “And in a way, I am sorry that it is upon us, because it means that we are ending the final chapter of a really great book but beginning a whole new chapter in a brand-new book.
 
“This book is the Book of Life.”
 
A variety of entertaining musical selections were provided by instrumental and vocal performers from Centennial’s choir and band programs.