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2022 EAGLES SOAR, DIPLOMAS IN HAND

 East graduates toss their caps to the sky following commencementMore than 190 East Eagles officially earned status as “alumni” with the conferring of diplomas for the 63rd time in the school’s history.
 
The golden occasion unfolded with great fanfare Friday evening at the Southwest Motors Events Center, with Top Scholar Adam Chavez topping this nest of accomplished Eagles.
 
“As we close this chapter in our lives, and embark on the next journey, we will continue to strive to achieve greatness in our own ways,” Mr. Chavez said. “As for me, I now want to live in the moment: no more planning of what I want to do. No making sure every little thing is going to go right. And no more trying to please the people who don’t understand you.
 
“Hear these words, Class of 2022, and take them how you want: because you are the determining factor in your life. And honestly, it’s okay to be a little selfish sometimes.”
 
With Summa Cum Laude with Distinction the highest designation in the Latin Laude System, the following Eagles graduated with that honor:
 
Xelzin Becerril-Hernandez, Adam Chavez, Seung Han, Ian Imes, Christopher Lucero Jr., Leyah Martinez, Gabriella McClelland, Blake Nazario, Soren Paulson, Destiny Romero, Kelsey Ruzich, Evan Smith and Kristen Williams.
 
Summa Cum Laude honors went to Anidia Cruz, Bethany Garcia, Mayra Hernandez Gomez, Laila Jimenez Diaz, Cameron McCoy, Steven Musso, Abigail Pedroza, Everett Rees, Cesar Sanchez Acosta and Kaydence Sandoval.
Carlee Brooks, Xavier Freeman, Rebecca Heine, Amerette Ornelas and Evelyne Quezeda Terrazas gradated Summa Cum Laude with Merit, with Summa Cum Laude designation earned by Alejandro Garcia Hernandez, Xexala Lopez, Cyrista Minter and Divina Walter. A couple in their matching gold regalia take a photo as they arrived at their graduation
 
Eight scholars left East as International Baccalaureate Diploma candidates: Xelzin Becerril-Hernandez, Adam Chavez, Christopher Lucero Jr., Leyah Martinez, Soren Paulson, Destiny Romero, Evan Smith and Kristen Williams.
 
In her address, Student Body President Kaydence Sandoval praised her classmates for rolling with the punches.
“The Class of 2022 has had a few down and outs but many more ups and smiles: such as breaking ground for a new school, bringing home state titles, choir and band concerts, sports, academic and finally, all the great memories we made with each other,” he said.
 
“As we move onto the next adventure in our lives, let the past four years be a lesson to never give up and strive for the best. No matter what path you take, always do what your heart tells you is right.”
 
Jocelyn Estrada, Senior Class President, stressed the importance of being adaptable.
 
“Sometimes, the best preparation in life is having no preparation at all: being okay with making mistakes. Although we might not all be born with greatness, we all have the opportunity to achieve something great: no matter who you are and whether you think you can or not. Because in the end, it’s all up to you.”
 
Principal Andy Clementi, who personifies East Side Pride as an alumnus and now building leader, said the Class of 2022 exemplifies the International Baccalaureate attributes for which East is known.
 
“They are inquirers who have become knowledgeable. They are thinkers, communicators. They are principled, open minded and very caring.
 
“They are risk takers while being balanced and reflective. They have made their mark on East High School’s tradition of excellence, and the Eagle Empire could not be more proud to see them represent our school, and city, where ever they may go.”
 
A student raises his hand and holds up his diploma to show the audience As presented to D60 Board of Education Vice President Tommy Farrell by Principal Clementi, the Class of 2022 saw its diplomas conferred by Superintendent Charlotte Macaluso.
 
Senior Class President Jocelyn Estrada then led the tassel change and class yell, which capped the ceremonial festivities.
 
Collectively, the Class of 2022 earned more than $2.8 million in scholarships, with scholars planning to attend in-state colleges as well as such institutions as Grand Canyon University, Notre Dame, University of Alaska, and Hawaii Pacific University.
 
Scholarship recipients include Xelzin Becceril-Hernandez, Carlee Brooks, Adam Chavez, Xavier Freeman, Bethany Garcia, Seung Han, Rebecca Heine, Alexander Hernandez, Ian Imes, Christopher Lucero Jr., Leyah Martinez, Leticia Moreno, Blake Nazario, Soren Paulson, Evelyne Quezeda, Everett Rees, Adam Romero, Destiny Romero, Morgan Root, Kelsey Ruzich, Nathaniel Saiz-Aleman, Cesar Sanchez Acosta, Kaydence Sandoval, Evan Smith, Rylie Trujillo, Davina Walter and Kristen Williams.
 
State titles in bowling and wrestling, as well as success in DECA and FCCLA, were celebrated during the ceremony, which also saw Eagles headed to the military saluted for their selflessness.
 
Fine musical selections were provided by the East instrumental and vocal performers, with a soul-lifting rendition of the Aerosmith classic, “Dream On” and the timeless “In My Life,” by The Beatles, highlights.