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Goddard High celebrates Class of 2021

“Never view yourselves or your loved ones by the satisfaction of others,” says Goddard High School valedictorian Luis Monroy during the Saturday morning commencement exercise at the Wool Bowl. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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Goddard High School seniors marked the culmination of years of effort Saturday morning at the Wool Bowl by participating in the school’s 56th annual commencement ceremony that included graduates’ remembrances of a year of unique challenges and lessons.

The class of about 196 students included 66 people graduating with honors or highest honors and seven students who have made a commitment to enter the U.S. armed forces.

Principal Brian Luck said the group had their lives “put on fast forward after having been put on hold” by the COVID-19 pandemic, a reality that required the graduates to wear face masks during the ceremony, even as New Mexico has begun to reopen and coronavirus cases are decreasing statewide.

“You have done great,” Luck said. “Now do me a favor and go become great. It truly is your God-given destiny.”

Several students gave remarks, including valedictorian Luis Monroy and salutatorian Makylah Apostol.

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Monroy told his fellow graduates that they should feel good about their achievements.

“As all of you graduates pursue success, never view yourselves or your loved ones by the satisfaction of others,” he said. “If you can establish yourself well in this world, embrace it, but there should be no reason that any of you feel ashamed of your accomplishments, no matter how big or small.”

Apostol said that they were the “class of hope, the class that saw the light at the end of the tunnel.” She told fellow students that she defined success not only by individual achievements, but by what people do to improve the world.

“We live in a world that seems to have forgotten the saying, ‘You can win a debate but lose a soul,’” she said. “We live in a world that says it is better to yell over someone you don’t agree with, rather than to have a conversation. Sometimes all one needs to do to make the world a better place is to listen to someone’s story. Other small gestures — such as a kind word, a smile, a text saying, ‘How are you doing?’ — can make the world of a difference. The seemingly insignificant things are so significant, not only in making others happy, but helping ourselves find happiness.”

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