Vincent Memorial graduates face new journey with grace and excitement

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Vincent Memorial High’s Valedictorian Rolando Rodarte gives a speech to the class of 2017 Friday at the Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Calexico. Photo by Daniella Rodiles

CALEXICO - As the vibrant stained glass windows mirrored the sunshine inside the Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, Vincent Memorial Catholic High School celebrated the graduation of the Class of 2017 Friday morning in Calexico.

Families and friends settled in the multiple rows of benches as the 58 students strode into the church. Father Miguel Campos began the Baccalaureate mass by blessing the graduates and thanking the students for their hard work and dedication. The ceremony proceeded with traditional rituals and soothing tunes of faith as the graduates and parents bent their heads, punctuated with glances of gratitude.

Matthew Cordes, associate director for the Diocese of San Diego Office for Schools, acknowledged the graduating class and the families for their devotion to the community and Catholic education.

“Now begin to focus on what problems to solve. And do what all good achievers have done. Strive to change the world and leave it in a better place in which you found it,” Cordes said.

Graduate Fabiola Corral delivered her Salutatorian address by thanking her parents and teachers for guiding the class with wisdom and compassion as they entered into a new chapter. She also reminded the class that Vincent Memorial will always be their home and a family to come back to.

“Yet, remember things not subject to change – the bonds that hold us together,” said Corral.

With a warm applause, the graduates assembled and received their diplomas as Sister Guadalupe Hernández, principal of the school, shook each student’s hand and moved their tassel. With contagious smiles, the students walked down the aisle as they waved their diplomas in the air and posed for their parents to take photos.

Class Valedictorian Rolando Rodarte told the assembly of the appreciation he had towards his parents, teachers and staff for their role, as each one of them was a fundamental part of his high school journey. In a touching tribute, Rodarte concluded his speech with a short poem about his motivations and the meaningful memories he will hold as an alumni.

Sister Hernández told the graduates that now, as they go out in the world, to use their faith and talents to the best of their ability and to always help the community.

“It’s not about how beautiful you are, how much muscle you have or how much you weigh, but what’s inside your heart and that in fact, inspires us to be humble,” she said.

With a standing ovation, caps were thrown to the air and Vincent Memorial’s Class of 2017 walked out to the blue sky of the day to hug and celebrate with family and friends.