It’s no secret that graduating from high school is a seminal moment in most people’s lives growing up. This time of year, millions of kids across the country fulfill the achievement every spring and Clovis Unified School District is no different.
Last week, close to 2,800 CUSD students made their families and friends proud as they too received their diplomas, securing a place in their respective schools’ histories.
Altogether there were eight graduation ceremonies that took place in Clovis at different locations around the city.
In addition to the conventional high schools that students attend in person, three ceremonies were held for Clovis Online School, Clovis Adult School and alternative education.
Several were held at Veterans Memorial Stadium for Buchanan High, Clovis West and Clovis North High Schools.
The other venues were the Mercedes Edwards Theatre in Clovis and Lamonica Stadium. Even with the large venues, people were still hanging from the rafters as people packed in to attend. Many had to sit on grass as the seats in the stands were all taken.
The ceremonies were elaborate, featuring music from the school choirs, academic awards and distinctions and at the conclusion, fireworks.
The graduations, however, mark just the beginning of the journey for many students, said CUSD spokeswoman Kelly Avants.
According to Avants, 78 percent of students that took part in a survey said they intend to continue with their education by going to four-year universities and/or graduate school and an additional 16 percent indicated they would attend two-year community colleges or technical school.
Other students said they would join the military or enter the workforce immediately.
Avants said that CUSD sets itself apart from other school districts in the manner that it prepares students to enter the real world.
“I think that our philosophy of helping students achieve their best in mind, body and spirit really speaks to how we go about preparing students for life after high school,” Avants said. “Not only do we focus on academic preparation by offering an extensive course list of traditional, honors and career technical education courses across the District, we also work to develop students of character who are healthy in body and mind.”
Additionally, Avants explained that CUSD communicated with the local businesses to get a feel for the effect that graduates are having on the community.
Students have indicated to her that the rigorous curriculum they took prepared them well for university-level coursework.
Avants said that seeing students move on after graduating is a bittersweet feeling.
“We form relationships with our students and we are invested in their success,” she said. “Time and again I hear our educational team express sadness over saying goodbye, and joy and anticipation to see where our students will go next on their life journey. We know this is how life is supposed to work, but we still miss them.”