The Los Fresnos High School Class of 2019 assembled for a traditional panoramic group picture Wednesday morning, then fanned out on Graduate Day to visit the nine elementary schools where they attended.
This year’s graduating class numbers more than 900 and is the largest in the Rio Grande Valley, Los Fresnos school district officials said. Commencement ceremonies are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Leo Aguilar Stadium in Los Fresnos.
But Wednesday was for celebrating how far the graduates have come. At times they and their teachers became nostalgic.
“It just feels like we’re making memories,” class salutatorian Enrique Valencia said. He and Valedictorian Isis Delgado both attended Lopez-Riggins Elementary School.
“We were so tiny back then,” Isis said, adding that the school seemed much bigger when they were students.
Both greeted the teachers they remembered on their way in, and planned to go back and catch up on memories later. The graduates paraded through the halls as teachers and other staff greeted them.
For the district Graduate Day is a way to set a good example for the younger students.
Delgado will attend the University of the Incarnate Word, and hopes eventually to work discovering new chemotherapies at St. Jude Research Hospital in San Antonio. Valencia will attend Yale University to study mechanical engineering and eventually hopes to work for Tesla designing electric cars.
Fourth-grade teacher Alicia Torres, who also taught second grade when this year’s graduates were at Lopez-Riggins, said she has great memories of the graduates, especially Liza Leal and Mathew Martinez, who she taught at both grade levels.
“ I love them both. They really worked hard, especially Mathew, who struggled as a second-grader but really blossomed in fourth-grade. It was wonderful to see that change taking place,” Torres said.
Her daughter, Adrianne Torres, is also a member of the Class of 2019.
Other graduates include Isela Escobedo, who will attend the University of North Texas and plans eventually to go to medical school, and Dallas Villarreal, who will attend the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and is looking toward a career in law enforcement.
Lopez-Riggins Principal Oscar De La Rosa said the students have come full circle.
“It gives you a great feeling of accomplishment to see what these kids have accomplished,” he said.