Graduates from Career Prep, Rocinante, Vista Nueva celebrated

Graduation week continues throughout San Juan County

Megan Petersen
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — More than 140 seniors in Aztec, Farmington and Shiprock received their high school diploma in graduation ceremonies on Wednesday evening.

Farmington’s Rocinante High School celebrated 87 graduating seniors at the Farmington Civic Center, while Career Preparatory High School honored 34 graduates at the Phil Thomas Performing Arts Center in Shiprock, according to graduation programs provided in advance of the ceremonies. Aztec’s Vista Nueva High School also celebrated 21 graduates at the Aztec High School multipurpose building.

Eli Garcia signs a year book before the start of Rocinante High School’s graduation ceremony Wednesday at the Farmington Civic Center.

Rocinante’s valedictorian and salutatorian are Abigail Gabaldon and Brianna Martin, respectively. The school’s commencement ceremony featured several student speakers, including Jazzmen Beeson, Lourdes Benitez, Duane Brewer, Andrea Gonzalez, Destiny Kambeitz, Taylor Mansker and Robyn Tso. Isai Ramos hosted the flower ceremony, and Rocinante counselor Debbie Murphy and teacher Heather Taylor presented 2018 graduates with their diplomas.

Ezekiel George puts on his sash before the start of Rocinante High School’s graduation ceremony Wednesday at the Farmington Civic Center.

Career Prep’s ceremony began with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Adele Lewis and the national anthem performed by Ember Chavez. Senior class president Taylor Enoah gave the invocation or opening prayer to begin the commencement, and senior class vice president Tinarita Johnhat introduced the ceremony’s guests.

Valedictorian Kandace Price and salutatorian Darnell Yazzie delivered addresses, and James Junes also delivered words of encouragement during the ceremony. Senior class secretary Latoya Litson honored the parents of graduates.

Career Prep Principal Staci Gallaher certified the graduates before Central Consolidated School District school board President Adam Begaye accepted the class of 2018 and the CCSD school board presented graduates with diplomas.

Courteney Pinto, right, returns to her seat after hugging her grandmother Edith Pinto during the Career Prep High School commencement ceremonies at the Phil Thomas Performing Arts Center in Shiprock on Tuesday..

Class officers led the graduates in the tassel ceremony before graduate Ramiro Montes gave the benediction or closing prayer to end the ceremony.

Vista Nueva High School graduates were welcomed by Abigail Arellano before Mariana Hernandez-Estopellan and Samantha Morris led attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. Josiah Brooks and Makaylee Boergadine introduced the class and the ceremony’s speakers, which included graduates Destini Adams, Teneil Adams and Raquel Ortiz.

Aztec Municipal School District Superintendent Kirk Carpenter and Vista Nueva High School Principal Rocky Torres presented the graduates with their diplomas before Cheyanne Starner and Leschea Gonzales led the tassel ceremony.

Other regional high schools also are hosting graduation ceremonies this week, with the Farmington High School ceremony at 7 p.m. Thursday at Ricketts Park in Farmington and the Shiprock High School ceremony at 7 p.m. Thursday at the high school.

High school graduation rates for the class of 2017 throughout the state averaged to 71.1 percent, according to New Mexico Public Education Department data. Data for this year’s graduating class should be available in the spring of 2019.

Brad Huffman, right, helps Alex Martin adjust his graduation gown before the start of Rocinante High School’s graduation ceremony Wednesday at the Farmington Civic Center.

Rocinante’s 2017 graduation rate was 38.5 percent, compared to Farmington Municipal School District’s overall rate of 66.2 percent.

Career Prep’s 2017 graduation rate was 22.1 percent, compared to CCSD’s districtwide rate of 63.1 percent.

Vista Nueva’s 2017 graduation rate was 37.3 percent, compared to Aztec's districtwide rate of 68 percent.

Megan Petersen covers business and education for The Daily Times. Reach her at 505-564-4621 or