El Paso High seniors graduate on the steps of the famed Trost-designed school
(EL PASO HIGH SCHOOL -- June 15, 2020) — The historic steps of Jones Stadium once again played host to the graduation ceremonies for the seniors at El Paso High. Unlike other years, however, the outdoor ceremony was marked by health guidelines and social-distancing measures that are part of EPISD’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The distancing did nothing to diminish from the traditional pomp and circumstance that every year marks the commencement for La High. The beautiful columns of the Old Lady on the Hill stood in the background just like they have for thousands of graduates before.
Monday’s ceremony began with the issuance of a diploma to the family of Kevin Bohls, a senior who passed away this school year.
Valedictorian Robert Escudero then addressed his classmates via video.
“La High prevails, providing students with equal opportunities regardless of socioeconomic background or citizenship status,” Escudero said.
He added: “The combination of a family-like bond and a unique geographic location creates such a prideful environment that El Paso High is the only school fitting to bear the name of our city. She has a unique ability to open doors that would have otherwise been closed shut and provides every tiger with an opportunity to succeed. We have all been given the tools to reach our own definition of excellence, not only representing ourselves, but also representing El Paso High.”
This year’s class of 377 Tigers led by Escudero and salutatorian Isabella Morales earned more than $10 million in scholarships — including a recipient of the prestigious UTEP Terry Scholarship. El Paso High seniors also received the most acceptance letters among other EPISD high school during the pandemic.
Morales, who was accepted to five major Ivy League schools before deciding on Yale University, congratulated her classmates for tapping into their unexpected strengths.
“During these past few months we have discovered our enduring scholarship as we joined zoom calls and completed assignments and tests from our homes all while juggling work, family, and perhaps illness,” she said. “And we have maintained our love for learning, whether that be a love for math, music, history or anything else. Our unexpected strength to persevere through adversity is shining through. And, on the other end of those zoom calls, our incredible teachers have shown their strengths as well.”
Monday’s ceremony also featured remarks by All El Paso High Boy Patrick Chacon and All El Paso High Girl Frida Ledezma.
“As we are approaching the next stage in our lives, the essence of being an El Paso High tiger will remain with us – the excellence of our achievements, our sense of scholarship that allowed us to never give up in our classes, the honor of our culture and traditions, and our family,” Ledezma said. “These four pillars that have been ingrained in our minds since our first day of high school will guide us to the path of greatness. On this day we are grateful to El Paso High for allowing us to be part of your history.”
The ceremony concluded with the traditional tassel turn followed by 20 rings of the historic bell to represent the class of 2020.
Photos by Leonel Monroy