DNHS Class of 2024 is reminded best days are ahead

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Photos by Lyndsie Ferrell The Upper Rio Grande School District's Class of 2024 walked into their graduation in style – smiles from ear to ear and some tears of joy graced the faces of this year's graduates.

DEL NORTE – Pomp and Circumstance filled the Upper Rio Grande School District’s gymnasium as the Del Norte High School Class of 2024 made their way to the stage with grins on their faces and some with tears in their eyes. As they entered, they stopped for photos with family and friends.

Once the 25 graduates were seated, senior and graduate Keith Pierce sang the national anthem which was followed by a round of applause from the audience. High school Principal Annie Hardy introduced the school board and administration before turning the stage over to this year’s Salutatorian, Zachary Romero.

Romero took to the stage, addressed his fellow classmates and opened his speech with a line from one of his favorite movies, “Step Brothers.”

“When I was a kid, when I was a little boy, I always wanted to be a dinosaur. I wanted to be a T-Rex more than anything,” he said.

Romero went on to say that movies such as the one he quoted have gone on to inspire and show how students didn’t need to be segregated into specific groups or definitions based on what has always been done.

“Our high school career was really the most entertaining high school movie of them all,” he said. “We can agree that these movies were great and all, but did they have an English teacher like Ms. Bailey or a Math teacher like Mrs. Turner?”

Romero closed his speech with a message to his classmates encouraging them to not live in the moment and to not take these moments for granted.

“Movies get it wrong when it comes to high school. No one uses lockers, cheerleaders don’t wear their uniforms every day, most of the kids don’t burst into song. Movies prepared us for what we thought were the golden years when in reality the best part of our lives hasn’t even begun,” he said.

The graduation ceremony closed with the presentation of diplomas after a speech by Valedictorian Craig Williams who made it a point to thank everyone in his life that helped him reach his goals and to his classmates for the journey they had together.