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A graduate in cap and gown smiles during the ceremonyFor the 65th time in its history, and the first in the new building, East High School International Baccalaureate Magnet school hosted commencement ceremonies for those who are now officially alumni of the Eagle Empire.
Saturday at the Southwest Motors Events Center, 141 Eagles received diplomas and congratulations from Principal Andy Clementi, his staff, and all those on hand to wish the scholars a life of golden sunsets.
“Graduation is a turning point in our lives. All of our lives have been changed, then changed, and changed again these past four years,” Principal Clementi said. “The overwhelming theme describing these Eagles, especially as we reflect on their unprecedented high school experience, has been perseverance and positivity.
"Knowing and experiencing the loss of the traditions that come to describe life as a high schooler has helped them live in the moment and treasure their many good times. This is what defines the mighty East High School Class of 2024.”
Co-top scholar Zion Lucero, a JROTC cadet who has joined the Navy, encouraged his fellow graduates to embrace opportunities.
Although he took JROTC as an elective class, Zion discovered it was a decision that changed the course of his life.
“I realized that we’re capable of things we had no idea we could do, and to never say ‘no’ on account of where you believe your ability lies. Basically, treat life like a huge game of improv: never say ‘no’ to anything: except the obvious things that are wrong to do. But never sell yourself short; always aim high, and the worst you can do is fail, or you might surprise yourself and it ends up being the best decision of your life.”
Mickey Root, co-top scholar and International Baccalaureate Diploma graduate, received an International Baccalaureate Arms Scholarship, a Gear Up Scholarship and scholarships to Grand Canyon University, where she will study nursing.
“Always remain grateful for everyone and everything,” she said. “Without having each other and the people around us, this and every moment we have ever encountered would never be possible. I am eternally grateful for the support of my teachers, family and friends. I would not be up here today without their support, guidance and most importantly love.
“The staff at East High School are people I’m going to cherish forever. They shaped me into the person I am today.
 I truly would not be up here speaking to a group of people without them. As for my family, they always supported me throughout anything and will continue to do so. I want to thank them all for being here and always giving me unconditional love and support. The friendships I made in and out of high school created bonds that will last a lifetime. They helped me live these four years in a way I will never take back.”
Ebony Padilla Andrews, student body president, addressed the seniors’ final year and first and only in the new East building.
“It's taken the better course of a year for our new nest to start feeling like home. Change is not easy, and starting all over in a new building is a drastic change. However, it is only fitting that our generation, the ones who fought for our future, secured it, and endured four years of uncertainty, should inherit a legacy over 60 years in the making.”
Katie Austin, senior class president, encouraged her classmates to keep their eyes on the future.
“It’s officially graduation day: one of the most important chapters in our life. It’s the day we get recognized for all of our accomplishments. And after today we get to go out and accomplish so much more. Whether that’s going to college and following your dreams or taking a step back and waiting to see where life takes you, there is no rush.
You still have your whole life ahead of you. It’s just beginning."
Ten Eagles earned their diplomas with top-tier Summa Cum Laude-Distinction honors:
Katie Austin
Henry Gifford
Justin Cameron Gonzales
Rosely Gonzales
Ashley Huerta Anaya
Mryssa Jaramillo
William Rivera
Mickey Root
Sergio Silva Campa, Jr.
Richard Willis
Along with Mickey Root, Alvaro Moreno III is an IB Diploma graduate.
The 29 Eagles who have received scholarships and offers – as well as high achievers in DECA, FCCLA/catering and ProStart -- were acknowledged, as were the four members of East’s Unified Bowling state championship team.