Abeyta: Class of 2015 is 'caring,' 'motivated'

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By Tris DeRoma

On Saturday morning, the 200-plus graduates that made up Los Alamos High School’s senior class of 2014-15 gathered together in the gym one last time before making that big step toward moving on to bigger challenges and places unknown.
Guest speakers that included honors graduate Esteban Abeyta, teacher Michelle Holland and LAHS Principal Deborah Belew-Nyquist spoke to the graduates about the challenges that lay ahead for them, as well as the memories and highlights of their four years together at the school.
Abeyta, who was also the class president for the 2014-15 school year, began by asking his fellow graduates to remember the three, late graduates they had lost along the way.
“We were blessed to have these wonderful friends, brilliant classmates, these genuinely great individuals in our presence as we grew up here in Los Alamos,” said Abeyta, adding that everyone would do well to remember their “positive energy and their wonderful smiles.”
On behalf of his graduating class, Abeyta also thanked the teachers and mentors that brought them to this point, adding that it was now up to he and the rest of his classmates to use the lessons they’ve learned and the knowledge they’ve gained to give back.
“With the windows of opportunities now ahead of us, we must now get back to our state, our world, our community,” Abeyta said. “As a part of the senior class here today, I cannot express enough gratitude to this school and to this town for the strength that they have provided for us.”
But it wasn’t all about platitudes and accomplishments.
Abeyta reminded the class of all the challenges they faced and of all the challenges to come, saying that at some point in their school careers, success has not come so easily, but it was their collective attitude that got them through it.
“That’s what I enjoyed most about being a part of the class of 2015. We have always told ourselves we can, even if something was difficult to achieve,” Abeyta said. “Our student body is one of the most caring and motivated I’ve ever seen. In times of hardship we’ve supported friends, families and even complete strangers.”
Humanities teacher Michelle Holland asked the graduates to remember who they are and to keep asking questions. She also reminded them that they are all one through the “threads” they’ve already woven.
“The thread you hold is not an answer, just a bit of hope that you not get lost. Live the questions and know that you are not alone,” she said. “Whatever path, by happenstance or choice that you find yourself on has been traveled by many before you.”
She also urged the class to be brave whatever path they chose.
“It’s dark out there. The woods is thick. There are monsters in the middle of everything daring you face your fears and accomplish your story. You got your thread. Gather more. Weave your story. What’s next, won’t be on my syllabus,” she said.
Principal Deborah Belew-Nyquist reminded the class that not only are they graduating from high school, they “about to enter the first major transition of their adult journey.”
With that, she gave them some advice from Los Alamos Scientist Miles Baron, whose son and future Marine Rigel was in the graduating class. “Where possible, help others by sharing your own travails, experiences and advice. In dire situations, people take comfort in knowing there is hope and that they are not alone.” she said.
As she ended her speech with much cheers and applause, Los Alamos High School graduates of 2015 then took to the stage to receive their diplomas.