Aztec High School grads honored in Fred Cook Stadium
AZTEC — About 175 graduates from Aztec High School celebrated during a commencement ceremony on May 24 at the Fred Cook Memorial Stadium.
Hailey Funk and Alicia Iverson gave the invocation. Maggie Dimas and Adam Jones welcomed the crowd. Zachary Taylor introduced the platform guests and Sarah Gifford introduced the guest speaker, retired AHS U.S. history teacher Fritz Polk.
Polk spoke about what makes a hero and about the Aztec High School shootings on Dec. 7, 2017. His classroom was near the site of the fatal shootings.
"You are my true heroes," he told the graduates. "You are the unsung heroes of Dec. 7, 2017."
He said the graduates are heroes because they persevered even after the shooting and got their diplomas. Polk asked the audience to give the graduates a standing ovation.
Kaitlin Bode and Mariah Berryhill shared appreciation for staff and parents.
Lindzie Gunnink and Angel Williams sang "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield. Janeesa Minton and Hannah Tillman lead the student memorial for Paco Fernandez and Thaddeus Hale.
The memorial included a moment of silence for Fernandez and Hale.
Jessica Gillentine sang "Humble and Kind" by Tim McGraw. Salutatorian Isabella Wells and Valedictorian Kortney Horn addressed the crowd. Hailey Funk led the honor graduate reflection.
Sarah Gifford introduced Superintendent Kirk Carpenter. Jocelyn Ulrich and Jensen Campbell gave the farewell address.
Logan Frost gave the benediction. Loren Hemmingson and the senior class officers led the students in the ring and tassel ceremony.