The 2019 graduation ceremony at San Carlos High School was all about challenges met and overcome and about the happy times being Apaches and students there.
After the San Carlos Apache Veterans’ Association posted the colors, Paula Boni sang the national anthem in Apache. Lorraine Cooley led the pledge of allegiance, also in Apache.
Kyree Dili performed the invocation and Joshua Jackson made welcoming remarks before Celesta Cassa introduced the keynote speaker Marcus Macktima.
He is an enrolled member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, who teaches at the University of Oklahoma and is a PhD candidate in history, specializing in Apache History.
Macktima said that he was not there to tell graduates what to do or how to do it but to tell them to “remember who you are. … Without our culture we have nothing. Without our sacred knowledge , our land, our ceremonies, our language, we’re just another city government no different from Globe or Safford.” He also spoke of the challenge he faced of becoming a father at the age of 16 and how he stepped up to shoulder that responsibility and later went back to get more education. Macktima told them to “seek out support and to give support,” citing the support of his teachers, and his family which helped him to achieve his academic success.
He stressed that all jobs and skills and professions, including traditional professions such as being Medicine Man singer or storyteller, could be used to “support our people.” Emcees Alexandra Hernandez and Mat Stauffer, student council vice-president introduced the address by the Salutatorian Kara Victor, after which the Apache Class Singers drummed and sang as dozens of students and staff got up and danced together.
Superintendent Dr. Deborah Jackson-Dennison then presented Superintendent’s Spotlight awards to Stauffer and Trinity Sisto, stressing the challenges that they had to overcome to graduate from San Carlos High School and, in Stauffer’s case, become eighth in his class and student council vice president.
In her valedictory address, Brandy Joe talked about her and her classmates’ experiences in their 13 years of education in San Carlos Schools. She remembered scores of friends by name, speaking of each year of high school and its special meaning and rewards for the Class of 2019.
Sherrie Harris, school board president, along with board members Katrina Talkalai, Joann Thompson and Durena Thompson were there to hand out diplomas.
The class of 2019 received their diplomas, turned their tassels and threw their hats in the air as fireworks lit up the sky.