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Goddard holds 53rd annual commencement exercises; Fireworks give colorful end to Goddard High graduates’ school years

Goddard High's Class of 2018 takes to the field of the Wool Bowl Friday night for the school's 53rd annual commencement exercises. Valedictorian Taylor Le, front left, is followed by co-salutatorian Elaina Mathews. Behind Mathews is co-salutatorian Camarynn Villalpando. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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At a Friday night commencement that included horns, noisemakers, whistles and shouting from family and friends in the stands of the Wool Bowl and concluded with fireworks, 218 seniors became the newest alumni class of Goddard High School.

The Class of 2018 continued the tradition of their predecessors by giving Principal Brian Luck a memento as they crossed the platform to receive their diplomas. This year, it was a bubble gum wrapper, a symbol for the saying, “That’s a wrap.”

Before their high school years ended, the seniors were reminded by seven fellow students who gave talks about fond memories of teachers and classmates; the reasons to be grateful to family, friends and teachers; and the importance of continuing to work to develop their characters.

Receiving a standing ovation before and after her speech, valedictorian Taylor Le talked about her life as the child of immigrants who encouraged her to achieve her dreams. She said her mentors came from both inside and outside school.

“At this crossroads of our lives, it is important to look back to be able to proceed into the future by asking what have we learned at Goddard,” she said. “The most noteworthy lessons I have learned and which I invite you all to consider are pursuing humility and cultivating appreciation for those around you.”

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The co-salutatorians also gave speeches, with Camarynn Villalpando, a student athlete, quoting the legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooten: “There is a choice you have to make in everything you do. So keep in mind that, in the end, the choice that you make makes you.”

Elaina Mathews told classmates that they will experience successes in the years ahead. “Whether you are going to college, working a nine-to-five job or raising a family,” she said, “aspire to greatness and I guarantee that you can achieve it.”

The full ceremony can be viewed on ksvptv.com.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.