Holy Cross is proud of the 37 Standard 6 students who graduated on 23 June, 2019. They have worked hard to get this far and we are pleased that most of them are going on to high school.
A Challenging Year
In the words of Principal Tasher:
“This was the most challenging in all the years at Holy Cross. The class of 2019 had Mr. Ayoni almost pulling out his hair for the first couple of months due to their lackadaisical attitude. “You Can Count on Me” – what a fitting song to define the type of friendship that was created. “If you ever find yourself in the dark and you can’t see, I’ll be there light to guide you.” He was that light that assisted you in making that positive change because the grades in the P.S.E. were better than expected. But he remained steadfast in his belief that with perseverance goals can be achieved.”
And this was true. The Standard 5 year had been much disrupted, with a variety of teachers coming and going, leaving the group frustrated and with large educational gaps. But Teacher Ayoni Esquiliano was able to slowly turn the group around, finding the right mix of pushing, encouraging and sharing this own personal stories of how he navigated this age, and what would be important in the years to come. And the students really appreciated it. In their own words they wrote:
“I want to thank Mr. Ayoni for never giving up on us. He took the challenge to teach 40 students. I remember when I was in Standard 5, we were switching teachers very often and that affected us, and when we came to Standard 6 we did not know half the things we needed to know but Mr. Ayoni never gave up on us and I am thankful for having him as my teacher.” Samuel
“I thank Holy Cross for the good teachers, especial for the one I have in Standard 6. He has done his best for us and gave us examples from his life. He and the Principal. I thank them for the good things they have done for us.” Beverly
The students also spoke very appreciatively of the hard work of their parents.
“My parents have struggles and work hard just for me to have an education. I really want to be successful and make my parents proud.” Reanna
Top student Leticia wrote:
“So many people have contributed to me still being in school and to having the grades I have. My mom and dad work the hardest for me and my sisters and that has inspired me to continue working hard for what I want. “
Graduation Church Service
Graduation this year took place over two weekends, with the theme of undertaking life’s journey. On Sunday June 16, we gathered for a combined graduation church service and parent appreciation ceremony. Having read the student’s reflections, it was moving to see so many of the faces that had supported these young adults for so many years.
Rev. Lynda Moguel gave an encouraging message along the theme that just as God takes on different roles as father, son and spirit yet is one; so too will our students take on different roles in their life – child, friend, student, husband, father and worker.
The students then sang, and it was powerful to hear the chorus of “I know who I am” sung confidently and proud.
I know who God says I am;
What He says I am;
Where He says I’m at;
I know who I am.
The official graduation service took place the following weekend. Continuing in the theme of undertaking life’s journey, several speakers gave words of wisdom.
After congratulating their achievement, Principal Tasher reminded them :
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. Have the courage to follow your heart and mind.”
Mrs. Cindy Shaffer spoke for the Holy Cross Education Foundation, acknowledging and thanking the many people who work hard to make Holy Cross possible – the teachers, support staff and many volunteers. She reminded the students that:
“Anything worth having is worth working for. Make a plan and stick to it to achieve your goals.”
The Holy Cross Education Foundation also awarded scholarships to the top 5 students.
The final words from the Holy Cross Education Foundation were an encouraging letter from the school founders Francis and Vernon Wilson.
We hope you take this opportunity and turn it into incredible accomplishments. Perhaps learning a skilled trade or attending high school and possibly even college. You are no longer students of Holy Cross but you will always be in our hearts, our prayers and our dreams for the future.
We pray that you will dream BIG dreams and that you will have HIGH expectations. But more than that, we pray you will work hard and create a productive life which benefits you, your family, your community and the nation of Belize.
We are excited to see the future you will create!
Valedictorian Leticia Garcia spoke confidently and clearly in both Spanish and English, thanking parents for their support and correction over the years. To her classmates she encouraged them to remember that they can count on each other now that this chapter has finished an a new journey is beginning. They too are a family!
Our guest speaker was the inspiring Ms. Karen Lopez, Manager of the Atlantic Bank, who has been a generous supporter of our feeding program. From a humble background, she had some very practical advice to offer for navigating life successfully. She reminded the students to:
“Always put God first and ask him for advice and guidance and he will help you live among your peers. Honor your parents. And always be kind and helpful to others as you never know when you will need kindness and help.”
She also quoted the well known advice from Admiral McRaven, “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. . . . And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made – that you made – and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”
Graduation continued with the presentation of town council scholarships by the Mayor Danny Guerrero, the presentation of graduation certificates and closing benediction from Rev. Lynda Moguel.
Following the ceremony it was delightful to see the proud families, all dressed in their finest clothes, taking proud family photos with the new graduates.