HOLTVILLE — Gold foil balloons danced in the wind behind the stands full of Viking graduates at the 2019 Holtville High School Commencement Ceremony Thursday, June 6.
The Holtville band played “Pomp and Circumstance” to begin the ceremony as the graduates, one by one, walked under the Viking blow-up tunnel and onto the football field one last time.
Viking senior Seth Hilfiker was named salutatorian for the class of 2019 and delivered his address after the invocation and welcome.
“It didn’t take me long to figure out that our class was extremely intelligent, smart, and driven — not only in the classroom but outside as well,” said Hilfiker. “It is no surprise to me that this year, Holtville High School education reached a lot of milestones with this year’s class. I hope that our accomplishments become the new standard for future graduating classes to surpass.”
In the 2019 graduating class, 75 of 137 students earned a GPA of 3.0 or better, 50 had a GPA higher than 3.5, and 68 seniors completed A–G requirements.
“Goal-setting would prove to be essential in my education,” Hilfiker continued. “My first goal in high school during my freshman year was to shoot to graduate somewhere within the top 20 of my class, sophomore year it changed to the top 10, junior year, the top five, and when I was finally aware of the position that was within reach, I went all in.”
Hilfiker paused during his address and took a moment to recognize those who sacrificed their time and effort to support and guide him and his classmates.
“We, as a class, could not be who we are today without you, and we are grateful for you all,” said Hilfiker appreciatively. “The difference between a winner and a champion is that a winner strives to beat others, while the champion strives to beat themselves,” said Hilfiker, as he stated his favorite quote. “God bless the United States of America, God bless Holtville, and God bless the class of 2019.”
Yvette Rios earned class of 2019 valedictorian honors and addressed her classmates and attendees.
“It’s hard to even fathom that this beautifully chaotic chapter of our lives has come to an end,” she opened.
Rios gave thanks to the city of Holtville; “I noticed from a very young age … the support and sense of unity is strong in Holtville,” said Rios. “The people of our little town have left a handprint on my heart and I will always carry the morals of our community with me.”
Rios focused a large portion of her speech on the topic of social mobility.
“They say that where you were born affects where you end up, economically at least,” said Rios. “Statistically, I am set up to fail. According to a video I saw in class, 50% of a certain race stay at the bottom 20% of the economic ladder, which only leaves a 3% chance of reaching the top. Fifty percent of people with unmarried parents stay at the bottom of the ladder with only a 5% chance of reaching the top. [The video] reinforced the fact that I do not want to fall under that statistic.”
Rios challenged her graduating class to defeat any stereotypes people may associate with them.
“With great affection and expectation, I advise to you fail early, fail often, and fail forward,” closed Rios as the presentation of diplomas was set to commence.
After a video yearbook presentation, the recessional concluded with the song “Fade Away” by Rebelution.