Alamosa Alternative High School graduates look forward
ASHANTI Pena and Damian Ramirez found each other along the way, and now together they found a way to complete their high school education.
“We did it together,” Ashanti said Thursday after she and Damian were the center of attention as the first two high school graduates for the Alamosa School District this academic year.
They completed their studies at Alamosa Alternative High School and went through the ceremony with their parents watching and fellow high school students looking on. Principal Lori Smith, Superintendent Diana Jones, and School Board President Heidi Richardson added to the ceremony’s distinguished guests.
“We’re ready to start our lives and ready to grow up,” said Damian. He’s eyeing the Xcel Energy lineman school as his next step, while Ashanti plans to enroll in college with hopes that she’ll find a career as a nail technician.
A third student, Derrion Torrez, also graduated but did not participate in the ceremony.
“I’m proud of you for believing in yourself and I’m proud of you for accepting the support,” Smith told the graduates.
For Ashanti and Damian it was a matter of doing the work to make the grades and complete the hours needed to graduate. They both struggled a year ago. “We’re just weren’t motivated and we didn’t really want to do the work,” said Damian.
In each other they found motivation, and this year with support from Smith and her staff at the new Alamosa Alternative High School, they found an academic setting that could help push them to graduation.
“The comeback is always stronger than the setback,” said Smith, borrowing a phrase that Alamosa Assistant School Superintendent Luis Murillo is fond of using.
Murillo had his own special connection to the graduation ceremony. He knew Damian as a student in middle school when both were with the Center School District. Now a witness to his high school graduation, Murillo stood proud of seeing Damian walk through the bouquet of maroon and white balloons.
“I want to be successful in that type of career,” said Damian of his next goal to join Xcel Energy as lineman.
“I want to do nails for a living,” Ashanti said.
With one supporting the other, their goals seem normal and reasonable for new high school graduates.
Photos by Andrew Parnes
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