The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of students dramatically. From in-class sessions to distant learning, most affected in all of this is the graduating class of 2020. To honor each class and the hard work they have put in, CBS 4 is honoring valedictorians from each campus across the Rio Grande Valley on CBS 4 Valley This Morning.
SANTA MARIA, Texas (KVEO) — Alejandra Castro is the valedictorian for Santa Maria High School.
She’s a junior, and she wasn’t planning on graduating this year, but she decided to graduate a year early.
Then the pandemic happened.
She’s a first-generation student, so she has to rely on teachers, even more, to get her through this time as she started applying for college.
She wants to encourage students who have struggled to keep up with their classes during this lockdown.
“Stay positive, try to do everything on time. Don’t slack off. Try to get everything out of the way as soon as possible. Your ACT deadlines, applying to college.”
Alejandra says it has been a strange year finishing high school in self-isolation. She does appreciate how the pandemic has created a tighter community.
“It brought us together like it made us realize what’s important in the world. Us just sticking together, helping each other out the best we can. Realizing what’s important in life. Not just the physical things but being healthy and staying in touch with each other.”
The pandemic has been a big life lesson of never taking anything for granted. She’s learned that all she can do is take life one day at a time.
“Try to make the most of it because you never know when something can change and happen again. Try to meet people, make friends, and enjoy it while you can because nothing is promised. You never know when what you have is going to be gone from one day to the next.”
She graduated on Saturday. Only her parents could attend the in-person ceremony, still, she is grateful they were able to be there.
She has a message for her fellow classmates.
“Although it was a difficult year, we all made it and we were able to accomplish what we hoped for and for the last twelve years, to graduate!”
She plans to attend UTRGV studying psychology. She hopes to be a child psychologist.