DIBOLL — The rain stayed away and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky over Lumberjack Stadium in Diboll, as 100 young men and women took home diplomas on Friday.

After a welcome from high school Principal John Clements and an invocation from Jasmine Pitones, Class of 2015 Salutatorian Karina Ilse Zapata delivered her address, expressing her appreciation to her parents and to God.

“Our hard work has paid off, and although we thought this day would never come, here we are, awaiting to embark on a new journey,” Zapata said. “Four years ago, we entered high school as freshmen, ready to begin a new chapter in life. Looking back, I laugh at myself for worrying about something so small. Even so, I can say God had my back and he revealed his plan for my life through little problems that seemed major at the time.”

Valedictorian Cheyenne Swor thanked her parents as well as her teachers and faculty members for pushing students to do their best.

“It’s hard to believe that graduation is actually here,” Swor said. “After four years of anticipation, we’re ready to receive our diplomas. Most of us are probably feeling anxious, thrilled, scared and overwhelmed all at once. I image those are the same emotions one feels after pouring Red Bull in their Starbucks for the extra morning boost.”

Samantha Johnson, a 2006 Diboll High School graduate and an assistant attorney in the Angelina County Attorney’s Office, challenged the students to develop values that would help them in life, such as having a plan, working hard but being flexible, finding what moves them and embracing it and being kind to others as well as themselves.

“It’s only been nine years since I sat where you’re sitting,” Johnson told the graduates. “While that feels simultaneously like the blink of an eye and an eternity, I did not feel like that was sufficient time to build up a wealth of advice and life experience. I feel like most of the time I’m still figuring things out, but I think that if most people are honest, they would say the same.”

After the traditional graduation speeches, Clements and Diboll ISD Superintendent Gary Martel presented the class to school board president Trey Wilkerson, who accepted the class and greeted each graduate with a handshake and diploma.

Honor graduates, in order of rank, were Swor, Zapata, Pitones, Nicolas Jesus Escobedo, Fernanda Montoya, Ashley Rodriguez, Hanna Lane Herring, Erika Salaiz, Ashley Danielle Coleman and Rodolfo Damian Salaiz.

After a closing by Clements, the commencement came to a conclusion with a benediction by Escobedo, followed by the Diboll High School alma mater and class song.

Steve Knight’s email address is sknight@lufkindailynews.com.

Steve Knight’s email address is sknight@lufkindailynews.com.

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