The 161 graduates of the Portales High School Class of 2011 walked the stage Friday night amid cheers and whistles at Eastern New Mexico University’s Greyhound Arena.
Portales HS Principal Melvin Nusser said the class, which included 36 honors graduates, was one of the biggest the school had in some time.
“They made the commencement exercises something special they’ll remember for the rest of their lives,” he said. “That’s the way their leadership was for the whole school.”
Nusser called the class “an outstanding group of kids.”
Kacy Vigil was valedictorian, and William VanDam salutatorian.
Vigil said he was glad graduation had come about and looking forward to college and the rest of his life. He said he was amazed to have been named valedictorian.
“It’s a great feeling,” Vigil said. “I’m thankful it all worked out; the hard work finally paid off.”
As for VanDam, he said he was relieved to have graduated.
“It’s pretty nice being done,” he said.
During commencement, graduate Elizabeth Goodwin gave the welcome, which included advice ranging from “floss” to thoughts on relationships. Classmate Kayla Hight delivered the farewell speech, telling graduates the thing they would have in common was that “No matter where this crazy world takes us, we were, are and always will be the Class of 2011.”
After the ceremony, Helen McNeal said she was glad her daughter, Victoria McNeal, had graduated. Her daughter couldn’t have done it without the support of grandparents John and Grace Fair, she said.
Victoria McNeal echoed the gratitude for family support.
“I’m nervous about going to college and stuff, but I think I can do it with my family behind me,” she said.