Coolidge High School presents diplomas to GRIC grads
Gila River Indian News
With social distancing restrictions on public gatherings and ceremonies due to COVID-19, Coolidge High School presented diplomas to graduating seniors in the Gila River Indian Community on May 21.
Ben Armstrong, Coolidge High School principal, went to Districts 1-4 to meet Amaya Duran, Xavier Martinez, Gabriella Ordonez, Kristopher Perkins, Owen Osife, Susanna Osife, Kaylyn Escalante, Antonio Manuel, Alette Paul, Joseph Cooper III, Gabriella Hart and Sonja Mendoza. Manuel and Martinez were not present.
Armstrong said the students deserved a special moment to receive their diplomas and recognition for their achievements as Coolidge Bears.“It’s the best part of the year, when [we] hand out diplomas, it’s what we look forward to,” said Armstrong.
Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis acknowledged the students as well and congratulated them on their accomplishments.“This is a unique class of individuals, because of recent times we are in,” said Gov. Lewis. “It is important [we] recognize them and do it in a safe way.”
Terry Willis, GRIC K-12 student advisor, said the students were phenomenal despite the changes to education in the state to stop the spread of the coronavirus.“It’s tough, that we are doing this under these circumstances, but it’s what we have to do,” said Willis.
Gabriella Hart said she was relieved to be finished with high school and she understands the changes to end of the year activities like graduation. “I really am looking forward to college and to travel to different places,” said Hart.
Hart also said that the circumstances are “kind of sad,” but that the steps to be safe are “not such a bad thing.”
Families also joined in the presentation such as Nicole Osife, mother of Owen and Susanna Osife, former Jr. Miss Gila River, from District 2. “It feels awesome for my children, they deserve this opportunity,” said Osife.