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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.
The Palo Verde High Magnet School Class of 2015 entered a failing high school in the first stages of turnaround in 2011 and left behind an A-rated high school that any student would be glad to claim. Faculty and student speakers pointed out that this transformation could not have happened without the remarkable students walking across the stage on graduation night. Achievement was a thread running throughout the evening. At 6:30 p.m., the students sat respectfully in the auditorium and cheered for the top 25 students, who were awarded their honor cords in a pre-ceremony. As part of this lovely tradition, Palo Verde's Chorus sang farewell songs to the graduating class. Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Eugene Butler told a folk tale with a very real moral: that we hold our futures in our own hands. Principal Eric Brock told the Graduates that the Palo Verde blue and gold that runs in their veins will give them the strength to become whatever they choose in their lives. Student speakers Patrick Arellanos and Jazmine Corrales talked about moving past the difficulties they encountered adjusting to high school. Their speeches, like those to follow on the field, revolved around a common theme; that the graduates were in control of their own futures. At the conclusion of the festivities in the auditorium, the graduates made a final symbolic trip across campus and marched proudly onto the football field while their band played Pomp and Circumstance and their parents, family and friends cheered wildly from the stands. The national anthem was sung by a group of six graduating seniors, and student body president Adrian Urbina and Senior Class president Alexis Palacios opened the festivities and led everyone in the pledge of allegiance. Principal Eric Brock announced proudly that Palo Verde Students have been awarded almost $9 million in scholarship money this year and achieved almost a 90 percent graduation rate. Both achievements that are significa