By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor
DORA — For one Dora High School graduate, summing up her experience at the school was simple following commencement exercises Sunday in Guy Luscombe Gymnasium.
“We’re all family,” said Iyesha Pareo, who plans on attending Eastern New Mexico University to seek a veterinary degrmee. “I’ve had a blast, it’s been an experience.”
Classmate Jessica Lee backed up what Pareo said, noting she’ll never forget how friendly everyone was.
“It was easy to be close to people,” Lee said.
Fifteen seniors make up the graduating class of 2007 at Dora High School. According to commencement speaker and Dora teacher, Kit Pettigrew, the class had one of the highest combined GPAs of any Dora class. He also noted that 11 of the 15 have plans to attend college.
“We’ve been working for the last 17 to 18 years to get to this point,” Valedictorian Casey O’Connor said, addressing his classmates. “I think I can speak for most of us and say, it feels good.”
O’Connor cited the Bible verse 2 Timothy 4:7 as an example of where his class is at in this stage of their lives. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
He commended his class on its perseverance and gave an example from his time at Dora.
O’Connor said he could remember as an underclassman, the year after Dora won the state championship in basketball. His team won few games that year but the players kept working and kept believing, he said.
“Finally in my senior year we achieved our goal — the state championship game,” O’Connor said.
Pettigrew, who teaches agriculture, gently teased the grads in their last afternoon at the school as students.
“I hope my speech today is as good as the one I gave to the hotel manager in Albuquerque after you guys put bubble bath in the hot tub,” Pettigrew joked. “I really had to do some fast talking that day.”
He cautioned students that things might not be so easy in life from here on out. To prove it, he told them he wanted to give them a quiz and if they could get four out of 10 answers right, he would shut up and hand out the diplomas instead of finishing his planned speech.
The questions, like “How long did the 100 Years War last?” all appeared to have easy answers but none of the answers were that obvious. The students failed their last test.
“Sometimes things aren’t as easy as they seem,” Pettigrew said. “The obvious isn’t always the right answer.”
Pettigrew urged them to persevere, have perspective and a plan, have patience and use the word please.
Kameron King couldn’t contain his enthusiasm as he pumped his fist as the graduates filed out after commencement.
King said he plans to work hard this summer roofing houses in Wyoming with his uncle and attend ENMU this fall.
“I came here in the fifth grade and met all these kids and the class really hasn’t changed that much since then,” King said. “I don’t regret it, it’s been fun.”