Liberty High School held it 2019 commencement Thursday, May 30 for its 15 graduates and eight adult graduates.
LHS Governing Board Vice President Jacqueline Tretow was the evening's emcee, announcing the graduates who marched into the High Desert Middle School Auditorium to the traditional tune of “Pomp and Circumstance.”
With the seniors in place on stage, Rev. Bill Norton, with the First Presbyterian Church, led the invocation and senior Camrine Schuey lead the pledge of allegiance.
LHS Director Lorraine Reves acknowledged the teachers and staff, as well as the governing board, then introduced the evening's guest speaker, Gila County Superintendent of School Roy A. Sandoval.
The theme of Sandoval's speech was freedom and the responsibility that goes along with it.
He said that the freedom enjoyed in the U.S. “doesn't exist everywhere and, if it does, then not for long,” in some cases.
Sandoval said that if we could compress the whole of human existence into a 24-hour day, then “the last minute of the last hour is the freedom we enjoy” in the U.S.
He read the Gettysburg Address in its entirety, then said that freedoms includes being able to move about as well as the freedom to pursue excellence.
“How should we treat this freedom that is so fleeting?” said Sandoval, adding that true freedom cannot exist without discipline and moral restraint.
Sandoval went on to talk about the “golden triangle,” which is made up of “freedom, virtue and faith.”
“It is our faith that keeps our freedom ‑ virtuous faith.”
He reminded those gathered that freedom is not free.
“People gave their lives for it,” Sandoval said. “I hope that none of you have to give up your lives for it.”
“Instead, I hope that you will live your lives to nurture freedom,” he said. “Study the issues from all sides; participate in our system ‑ vote and even run for office. Model this system for your children and your children's children.”
The LHS class speakers were Alicia Jade Johnson and Briana Erin Patten.
Johnson expressed surprise that graduation was already here and told her class, “I'm proud of us.”
She then thanked family, friends and teachers for their support.
Patten said that even though “sometimes life threw us some big obstacles,” the graduates had persevered.
She then read an original poem to her class, saying in conclusion, “Remember to love the life you live and live the life you love.”
After the class speakers, several awards and scholarships were presented to graduates, including the LHS Four-Year Club award, the Leadership award, the Honorary Termites scholarship, the Dr. Vincent Barry scholarship, the Society of Mining Engineers scholarship and the EAARC Board scholarship.
The mother of Robert D. Bejerano awarded a scholarship in memory of her son, David, who was to graduate this year but lost his battle with cancer.
She challenged the graduating class to take on her son’s mind set, which was “I got this.”
“Never accept failure,” his mother said.
Once the scholarships were awarded, board members Tretow and Kay Ratcliff presented the diplomas to the graduates.
After a short recessional, the newly graduated were greeted by family and friends.