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Class of 2019 looks toward the future

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    As each graduating student is announced, they walk across the stage to receive their diploma from Elgin ISD school board president Byron Mitchell and Superintendent Jodi Duron, then shake hands with Elgin High School principal Ricardo Reyes.
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    Salutatorian Kaylee Berdoll delivers the graduation address.
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    Valedictorian Jacob Neidig takes a video of himself and his classmates before delivering the commencement address.
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    Michael Price exits the stage while school board president Byron Mitchell presents Lizet Benites with her high school diploma. Photos by Julianne Hodges

The Elgin High School Class of 2019 closed the last chapter of their high school careers with a graduation ceremony on Friday.

Due to concerns about inclement weather, the venue for the graduation ceremony was changed to the Travis County Exposition Center.

After the Elgin ISD School Board led the graduates onto the floor of the expo center, alongside high school teachers and administrators, graduating senior Seth Stuart delivered an introduction speech to open the ceremony.

“In front of you is a group of amazing students that are about to have the honor of being official high school graduates,” said Stuart, addressing the family, friends and faculty of the graduates in attendance. “They have worked extremely hard to get to where they are.”

After Stuart’s introduction speech, the EHS Honor Guard presented the colors, followed by the singing of the National Anthem by the EHS Senior Choir directed by choir director Cherisa Cromer. The Pledge of Allegiance and Texas Pledge of Allegiance were delivered by Alyssa Ramirez and Kevin Vidales, respectively. Ashley Kresta delivered the invocation to pray over what lies ahead of the graduates.

During his welcome speech, EHS principal Ricardo Reyes encouraged the class to continue their hard work.

“Whether you are aspiring to become a politician, an engineer, a welder or a teacher, the hard work begins now,” Reyes said.

Myles Barker encouraged the Class of 2019 to not forget the times they’ve shared as he delivered the opening remarks of the night.

“Class of 2019, we are only moments away from graduating, only moments away from beginning a new chapter,” said Barker. “It is important to never forget your time here: the lessons you have learned, the knowledge gained, the jokes told and the laughs shared.”

The graduation address was delivered by salutatorian Kaylee Berdoll. The theme of her speech was the firsts and lasts of life.

“This year has brought on so many lasts,” Berdoll said. “Those lasts were all possible because of the firsts you had. ... Each of us, whether we go to college, the military or to the workforce, will have our own new firsts of experiences.”

Before delivering the commencement address of the night, valedictorian Jacob

Neidig took the opportunity he had on stage to take a video of himself and his classmates at graduation.

“The opportunity to live our lives is now,” Neidig said. “Now is the time to take chances and set your sight at that seemingly unattainable goal. Now is the time to strive to change the entire world, not just simply be a part of it.”

United States Navy Retired Commander Ron Armstrong recognized the graduates at the ceremony who are planning to enlist in the military. This was followed by Reyes recognizing several groups of students who earned college credits during their time in high school.

After this, school board president Byron Mitchell presented the graduates with their high school diplomas as their names were announced by senior English teacher Julissa Kyle.

Camari Stiggers had the honor of delivering the closing remarks of the night.

“This single event has been 13 years in the making,” Stiggers said. “We should all be proud of ourselves and what we’ve accomplished, but we should also be thankful for those around us who have helped us on our journey here.”

To close the ceremony, Elana Eubanks and Anna Young commissioned the graduates to move their tassel from the left to the right, signifying their graduation.