Navajo Prep, Newcomb, NWHS host last of 2018 graduations

Ceremonies wrap up graduation week in San Juan County

Megan Petersen
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The last of San Juan County's graduating high school seniors received their diploma today in the final 2018 graduation ceremonies.

Navajo Preparatory School valedictorian Kellian Staggers addresses her fellow graduates and spectators on Saturday.

Navajo Preparatory School, Newcomb High School and Northwest High School celebrated a combined 110 graduates in ceremonies in Farmington, Newcomb and Shiprock, according to information provided by the schools in advance of the ceremonies.

Navajo Prep graduated 50 high school seniors in a ceremony hosted by student body president Ian Teller. Tristan Joe and Kyra Capitan led the seniors in the procession. Beverly Nelson performed the national anthem, and Malorie McKerry gave the invocation or opening prayer.

Senior class president Isabelle Trujillo gave a welcome address, and Navajo Prep Board of Trustees President Anderson Yazzie Jr. gave opening remarks before Martinique Larvingo introduced commencement speaker Roxanne Lee. Chantel Wagner presented Lee with a gift.

Navajo Prep Preparatory graduates celebrate in unison with the diplomas at the conclusion of the school's commencement exercises on Saturday.

Joe, Larvingo, Cameron Keeswood and Kellian Staggers thanked parents, and Kolton Nephew and Kelvin Benally Jr. made a presentation to parents.

Staggers, who is also valedictorian, and salutatorian Jonnie Woody addressed the crowd.

Nichelle Silversmith and Tionna Garner gave a senior appreciation address, and Dante Thunder Hawk, Alijah Uentillie and Jerome Harry led a return of items ceremony, in which graduates return traditional baskets and staffs used in the ceremony and spirit sticks used throughout the school year.

Navajo Prep librarian Tami Bechdol presented Atsa Exemplary Graduates, and Head of School Betty O’Jaye and the school’s Board of Trustees presented scholarship awards and certified the graduating class.

Jonnie Woody gets her hair bun prepared by Wanda Allen outside the Navajo Prep gym on Saturday morning before the school's commencement exercises.

Yazzie, O’Jaye, Leslie Tohtsoni and Allison Henry presented graduates with their diplomas.

Senior class secretary Jourdan Watson and Tyra Waybenais led the ring and tassel ceremony before Cheryl Wolfe’s farewell address. Senior class vice president Blossom Yellowhair gave the benediction or closing prayer.

Newcomb High School celebrated 36 graduating seniors in a ceremony hosted by class president Nicholas Tsipai.

Linda Camerino performed the national anthem before class treasurer Alys Allen said an invocation and class secretary Zjani Johnson gave the welcome address.

Valedictorian Jade Underwood and salutatorian Kynthia Yazzie addressed the crowd before the keynote speech by Hanni Collyer.

Navajo Prep graduates Eurick Yazzie and Rain Aguilar take a selfie before the commencement procession on Saturday.

Newcomb Principal Jeffrey Sagor certified the graduating class, and Central Consolidated School District School Board President Adam Begaye accepted the graduates before members of the CCSD school board presented diplomas.

Class vice president Cayla Hunt led the tassel ceremony, and Tsipai gave closing remarks before Allen’s benediction.

Northwest High School celebrated 24 graduates in a ceremony opened by Saige Benally performing the national anthem and Wilson King giving an invocation.

Navajo Prep Senior Malorie McKerry applies some mascara to her eyelashes moments before the beginning of the school's commencement exercises on Saturday.

Class president Francine Yazzie introduced platform guests before Loretta Wheeler’s keynote speech.

Lynette Jim and Carmen Nez gave special recognition to graduating seniors before Northwest Principal Albert Madera presented the class of 2018. Madera and Shiprock Associated School Board President Lula Jackson presented diplomas, and Loretta Draper announced the 2018 recipient of the Dr. Kenneth F. Gose Scholarship.

Yazzie led the tassel ceremony, and Wheeler gave a farewell speech before Allyntina Perry gave the benediction.

Kyra Capitan, left, and Tristan Joe lead the Navajo Preparatory School class of 2018 during the procession to the football stadium on Saturday.

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.

Newcomb High School’s 2017 graduation rate was 65.9 percent, compared to Central Consolidated School District’s average of 63.1 percent.

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