2016 class filled with stories of redemption, resilience
Quincy High School graduated 154 students on June 10, sending them off, before their family and friends, onto the next phases of their lives.
For each of the seniors, the road to graduation was a personal one. For some, those stories tell of not only resilience but also redemption.
Hernandez: Dad will be in her heart at graduation
When Rosa Hernandez tosses her green cap in the air to bring to an end her high school education, she may just fling it as high as she can.
So high in fact that it will be seen cutting through the blue skies from many miles away. Perhaps even in Mexico, where she was born 18 years ago.
The first person in her family to graduate from high school, Hernandez will receive her diploma and enter the real world, her sights set on studying at Spokane Falls Community College and becoming a physical therapist assistant.
The future that looms ahead shares living quarters with her past. As she readies to look ahead, Hernandez takes time to look back. Fourteen years back, to be exact, when her parents Ramon and Marcela began a new life in Quincy.
Since then, the family has mixed the good with the bad, the sunny days with the slings and arrows, none sharper than losing Ramon to deportation last year.
With dad present only in spirit, Rosa said that Marcela “wants that day to be special for me.”
“That’s why she’s happy for me,” Rosa said of her mom. “Because I didn’t let that bring me down and I actually tried harder in school.”
Rosa said she tried to remain strong for her younger sister, an eighth-grader, to show her that working hard at school can yield good things – no matter how tough the circumstances.
Part of Ramon’s teachings surface in that philosophy. He used to tell his children that things come to people if they are willing to work for them.
So Rosa persevered, and carried on, with mom running the household and dad in Mexico. Now Rosa graduates from high school, with sister and mom in attendance, and Mexico in her mind.
“I want to go to college,” she said. “And when I get some money, like, good money, I want to go visit my dad.”
Delgado: First in family off to college
To the rest of us it’s a campus in the sun-drenched wheat lands of Spokane County. To Andrew Delgado, it’s a campus-sized checkered flag, an institution that will become the next stage in his career.
The first member of his family to earn admission to a four-year college, Delgado will attend Eastern Washington University, where he plans to become an actor.
Delgado credits his parents and his college prep class’ teacher Jacque Rasmussen for his accomplishment.
“Mrs. Rasmussen pushed me to join drama club,” he said. “She told me to join and I joined and I really loved it.”
Although he describes himself as shy, he says that once he hits that stage, the fright and the shyness go away.
A transplant from just outside Fresno, Calif., Delgado arrived in Quincy in the fifth grade. Immediately, the land of opportunities unlimited felt like the land of friendships unlimited. Asked how long it took for Quincy to feel like home, this former Californian said, “a month.”
“I just got adjusted really fast,” he said. “I made friends really quickly. My mom was working in the fields and she met some people out in the fields and we would go to their house and I met their kids and they were actually in my grade.”
Now that the journey from the Golden State has reached an important milestone, Delgado looks back and dedicates this achievement not just to teachers and friends, but also to those who were there when it all began.
“I’m making my family happy,” he said. “Especially my mom. She has been waiting for this for a long time.”
Ferreyra: Set your sights high
Someday, with the help of Luis Ferreyra, more people will be able to read this phrase. And this one, too.
Ferreyra graduates from Quincy High School this weekend, and hopes to someday become a translator for Hispanic people.
He will attend Big Bend Community College and become his family’s first-ever college student.
“I’m a pioneer,” he said. “I’m the one setting the example for the rest to follow. And it feels like I’m making my parents proud, too.”
Ferreyra, born in Mexico, says the decision to become a medical translator grows out of his own experience. He came to the United States knowing no English, so he wants people to have it a little easier communicating than he did back then.
He arrived in 2007 as a third-grader, from Reedley, Calif. Quincy felt like home after a year, Ferreyra said.
“I felt, ‘you know, I have some friends here, I feel like I can live here,’” he said.
A student at QHS for all four years, he said the best part of it was playing with the school band.
“You get to make a whole bunch of memories, playing at concerts and competitions,” he said.
Now that all that is in the rearview mirror, he looks forward to serving as an example for future generations of Hispanics who made it through to college and kept Quincy as their hometown.
“If they finish high school they will make a lot of great memories that will last them the rest of their lives,” he said. “It’s going to feel like a great accomplishment when they graduate. They can look back and think to themselves, ‘I accomplished that. I can set my mind to something and I can accomplish anything.’”
— By Sebastian Moraga, email@example.com