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Congratulations to Tucson Unified's Class of 2015
More than 2,800 members of Tucson Unified School District's Class of 2015 graduated this week in ceremonies at campuses all over the city. For those outside, a strong breeze meant holding onto caps tightly as they threatened to fly away—much like many balloons that went skyward Thursday night.
Members of the Class of 2015 are venturing out all over the nation for college, careers and military service. In all, these graduates were offered $87,259,653 in grants and scholarships.
While they may all be going in different directions, they will always have something in common: A high school diploma.
Dr. H.T. Sánchez, superintendent of Tucson Unified School District, told the crowd at Pueblo Magnet High School something that applies to all graduates.
"The great equalizer, the one thing that can't be taken away from you is your education. As long as you have your education you have your dignity," he said. "And when you have your education and your dignity there is nothing you can't accomplish."
The Tucson Unified Communications Team was present at all of the graduation ceremonies. We will be bringing you stories from each ceremony in the coming days. Here are a few to get us started.
At Catalina High School, graduation night was about the past, present and future. The seniors gathered early in the auditorium for a pre-graduation ceremony—before the hoopla and the fanfare would overwhelm them. They heard from school and central leadership and they honored the Top 25 students in their class, who received special ropes and sashes to wear that night. Then they started their traditional last walking tour of campus. The tour gave the students the chance to re-live memories, think back about when they started at the school and realize how far they have come. Catalina is among the most diverse schools in Tucson, with students from more than 40 countries. These seniors worked hard during their time at Catalina, and it paid off. The nearly 180 graduates were offered $5,270,182 in scholarships and grants. Soon, it was time to don caps and gowns and take the last walk as students to the football field. Proud families packed the stands holding their gifts of flowers and balloons, which were shining under the lights. As the graduates processed to the traditional Pomp and Circumstance, parents cheered--clearly excited for this day. After inspirational speeches about these students journey, Principal Kathryn Shaw congratulated the graduates, and one-by-one, they walked up to receive their diplomas. This was not a quiet, serious ceremony. The graduates, faculty, staff and families cheered as each student took to the stage. After the last students got back to their seats, caps flew skyward and families rushed the field to find their newly minted high school graduates. Rosie Salazar was quick to find her son, Jorge Luis Salazar, on the field. "I'm so proud of him. For me, this is very emotional because the last year has been very challenging," she said. "We are so proud. My son is now going to Pima College to become an engineer." Essam Ali, another member of the Class of 2015, is also planning to go to Pima Community College. Hsaid