Family members of this year’s Clovis High School graduating class displayed almost as much determination to attend the ceremonies Saturday morning as the graduates did in getting their diplomas.
“People were here at 5:45 a.m.; that’s when the first ones got here,” said Wayne Anderson, the music coordinator for Clovis schools, who was helping people locate seats prior to the 10 a.m. ceremony in Rock Staubus Gymnasium.
“This place is packed,” Anderson said. “It’s like a rock concert.”
The first one in line Saturday morning was former school board member Rick Cornelison, whose daughter, KayCee, was among the 380 students who marched across the platform, signaling the completion of their high school career.
“I wanted my seats from basketball season,” Cornelison quipped. “We wanted to get good seats for the family.”
Cornelison and Anderson noted that Clovis veterinarian Dr. David Hudson didn’t arrive as early, but came bearing Krispy Kreme donuts to try to entice people to exchange places in line for better seats.
“We tried it, but it didn’t work,” said Hudson, whose daughter, Shannon, was graduating. “My wife got here between 6:45 and 7 a.m., but I had to go to work for awhile.”
Shannon Hudson’s grandparents, Stan and Linda Harper, made it to the ceremony from Dallas.
Graduating senior Anderson Ray Domingo was greeted with a lot of family support after the commencement exercises. His Navajo grandparents, Ray and Nancy Alonzo, traveled from Ramah, and his sister, several aunts and an uncle drove in from Omaha, Neb., to see him graduate.
“I’m happy; I’m loving it,” Domingo said with a grin. “It’s such an honor having them here for graduation. I’ve had lots of support. It’s a relief being out of school, but it’s a new life now — being away from my friends.”
Domingo plans to attend the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
His mother, Eunice Pino of Clovis, said the road hasn’t been easy for her or her son.
“I’m a single parent, and I struggle with him, but he made it, and I’m so proud of him,” she said. “We’ve had our ups and downs, but we made it.”
Although Domingo’s grandfather doesn’t speak English, his daughters translated his thoughts.
“I’m glad to be here,” Alonzo said. “We traveled a long way to see our grandson. We’re excited to be here with him on this special day.”
“We’ll push him through college, just like we did through high school,” said Domingo’s Aunt Jan from Omaha.
For other families, graduation held bittersweet emotions.
Joey Garcia received his diploma and celebrated it with his family.
“It’s great,” he said. “It’s a big accomplishment, but I still have college to do.”
Garcia plans to attend Texas Tech University on a football scholarship.
“It means the world to me,” said Garcia’s mother, Rosetta, from her wheelchair. “But I would like for him to be a junior — to stay young.”
“It’s a happy day for me, but I hate to see him leave,” said Garcia’s grandmother, Rosa. “He’s the man of the house. I don’t know what we’ll do without him.”