All was quiet outside of high school student David Li’s home at around 10 AM until a caravan of “Congratulations” cars blasted their horns. Li’s father came outside to see news photographers and McAllen ISD’s Superindent Dr. Jose Gonzalez put a Valedictorian graduation stole on Memorial High School’s top student. “this is really nice. I really appreciate it and all the things that you guys have done for me,” said Li to his principal and teachers. Li is heading to Harvard to study either applied math or neuroscience.
Four private parades were scheduled for McAllen’s top of the class. Achieve Early College student Ana Garcia was surprised at Texas Workforce where she helps staff and is already hands-on with her career, “I’m going to UTSA for Accounting.” Garcia’s upbeat spirit couldn’t be contained as she didn’t know if she was Valedictorian until the parade, “I didn’t know anything about it and normally I’m pretty good at figuring out surprises.”
From late morning into early afternoon, the parades continued with the third on the schedule at James “Nikki” Rowe’s Valedictorian Daniel Villagran’s home. The tech wiz is off to MIT and stunned at what his teachers and superintendent did before his senior year came to an end, “This is such a shift from what usually happens,” said Villagran. A major shift indeed as Texas eduction is now entirely from home as the fear of a COVID-19 outbreak at school prompted the Texas Education Agency to send everyone home and take online classes.
All of the Valedictorians including, McAllen High School’s Vidal Saenz were shocked at the parade outside in their honor and with parting words on facebook live, Saenz offered a pep talk to his fellow classmates stuck at home, “for y’all watching this, hope you all are doing good. Just be hopeful at this is all over quick and thanks for being there all along the way.”
While their school year has ended with uncertainty and dark, their futures are most certainly focused and bright.