By Patty Montagno
A supportive crowd of nearly 8,000 people cheered and clapped wildly as students from Sachse High School’s class of 2015 received their diplomas Thursday night.
Close to 650 smiling faces walked the stage as SHS graduated its 13th class.
The commencement was a moving event for everyone. Tears often glistened in the eyes of graduates, parents, and even speakers as the young graduates were honored for having completed their work at SHS.
The ceremony took place in the Garland Independent School District Curtis Culwell Special Events Center.
Members of the crowd rose to their feet and cheered loudly as the Honors Band played “Pomp and Circumstance” and the graduates walked with military precision to their seats.
Musical selections included “The Star Spangled Banner,” “From Sea to Shining Sea,” and the SHS varsity choirs and senior class sang the SHS Alma Mater. The soloist was Malik Heard.
Valerie Tovar led the Pledge of Allegiance, Nhu Vuong gave a welcome speech. The Wind Ensemble and A Capella Choir were conducted by Holly Taylor and Josh McGuire. Guests on the main stage were Sachse High School Principal Ray Merrill, Salutatorian Monica Nhu-Y Nguywnvo, Valedictorian Tanner Pratt, School Board President Rick Lambert, Superintendent Bob Morrison, Deputy Superintendent of Business Operations Rene Barajas and GISD teachers Bob Clare and Chris Grey.
Merrill congratulated the graduates for their successful high school career and thanked them for demonstrating leadership, nurturing and patriotic qualities.
“Please continue to be the leaders you have worked so hard to become,” he said. “I want to thank your parents, friends, families and teachers, because without their guidance you would not be here today. I was honored to be your principal.”
Merrill praised the group for all they accomplished but said he hoped they all would accomplish much more.
“You have a zest for life, a good work ethic and you have set the bar high,” he said. “Be sure to surround yourselves with people who will support you, and please let your parents know how much you love them.
“We have grown together as a family. Thank you for allowing us the privilege of being your high school.”
Nhu-Y Nguywnvo, walked to the podium and told the audience that it was hard to believe that they were finally there.
“It’s taken us four years to get here which means four years of waking up way too early in the morning, four years of going home tired and exhausted, four years of work and stress and practices and rehearsals and some sleepless nights but it’s paid off,” he said. “Thank you to the teachers who’ve been with us these four years, coming in earlier and staying later than most of us. Thank you for teaching and guiding us to be better students.”
Nhu-Y Nguywnvo said the last four years passed in the blink of an eye.
“But we got through it, in different ways,” she said. “Whether it be finishing up that homework even though we could barely keep our eyes open after that part time job, or just showing up to school when we really didn’t want to. We all go our separate ways after today. Whether it’s off to university, community college or taking some time off.”
Pratt said the commencement ceremony was to recognize the last 12 years of the graduates.
“Everything we’ve been through for the past twelve years has been leading to this,” he said. “I’m talking about every triumph, mistake, accident or experience.”
Pratt said the graduates value all the support and faith they received during their school years.
“As our time at Sachse High School ends, we know that we are on the threshold of the most important stage of our lives,” he said. “This is where the training wheels come off and we gain the most control.
I believe that so long as we approach our lives with both purpose and fulfillment, we won’t miss out on what is important.”