Sheridan High School

Updated: December 7, 2019.

2021 - Historical Graduation in Many Ways

Sheridan High School held their graduation ceremonies on Thursday, May 21, 2021. The event was held in the Sheridan School District Stadium and started at 10:00 a.m. on a breezy overcast day. According to Forest Davis, a long-time faculty member, it was the first outside graduation held on the field in over twenty years. It was also the first in person graduation held after last year's event was done virtually.

There were eighty-one graduates in the class. There were about three hundred family and friends in attendance. In an unusual configuration, most of the audience was seated on the field along with the graduates. In another change, faculty members were seated on both ends of each row of graduates. All the graduates were wearing masks in response to the pandemic along with most audience members.

German Echevarria, the Sheridan Principal just completing his second year at Sheridan, welcomed the graduates and the audience. He introduced the school board members and staff on the stage. His remarks included how the "last year and half has been extremely difficult" for all. He asked the following groups of seniors to stand and be recognized for honors, AVID, National Honor Society, the first graduates in their family, and other groups. Near the end of the list almost every senior was standing. Faculty and staff "went above and beyond" what was expected of them. He also mentioned how the schools are at the heart of the Sheridan community. The junior escorts were recognized: Andrea Delgado, Amarissa Gonzalez, Emilze Lopez, Janet Lopez, and Mariela Romero. They represented the best of the junior class.

The Valedictorian Gerardo Avellaneda Santana was introduced by Mr. Echevarria. Gerardo was born in Mexico and his family came to the United States as undocumented immigrants evading the border patrols. Gerardo is bilingual and fluent in both Spanish and English. He earned this honor with a 4.284 grade point average. This was accomplished by exceeding all graduation requirements, participation in AVID, completing the Seal of Biliteracy, and extra-curricular activities.

Webmaster Note: Gerardo was not the first Sheridan Valedictorian to come from
Mexico. Linda Medina Martinez, the 2013 Valedictorian was also born in Mexico.

Gerardo shared the story of his journey to this point. He asked his classmates to reach and move the stars. He gave four things he wanted his classmates to do. 1. Envision the new glory of what is your dream and vision. 2. Construct your blueprint - what is not written is not developed. 3. Don't be shaken by tribulations. 4. Borrow the shoes of others. Meaning they should seek out the wisdom and strength of others. Finally, he asked his classmates to make connections and build relationships to last a lifetime.

Superintendent Pat Sandos spoke about the meaning and significance of the family and in particular the Sheridan family. Each graduate is a part of this family.

Jill Bialecki and Bonnie Silva, Sheridan Counselors, presented the honors and awards within the graduating class. Gerardo Santana mentioned above. Salutatorian Monica Dinh. Monica had a grade point average of 4.152. She participated in volleyball and has already earned an astonishing 28 college credit hours at Arapahoe Community College. The following groups were asked to stand and be recognized. Summa Cum Laude: Gerardo Santana, Monica Dinh, and Marla Martinez. Magna Cum Laude: Joana Aleman, Jhowana Henderson, James Hume, Kevin Paredes, Alhondra Guerrero, and Quincy Stover. Cum Laude: Yesenia Caldera, Anisleidy Hernandez, Natori Hudson, Alvaro Sanchez, and Emily Heredia. Also recognized were AVID, National Honor Society, Biliteracy, Trades Program, and CTE graduates.

The faculty speaker was Britton Smith from the AVID program. He was unanimously selected by the senior class. Mr. Smith spoke of "the experience" all had shared through the last year and half. He remembered the "silent foreheads" and as he was teaching remote online learning during that time. How much we take for granted and that education comes in all forms. He exhorted the class to "take a chance on something." To do something they would otherwise not do.

The presentation of the class was completed by Shana Ryan, Instructional Coach for the high school. The names of each graduate were read by Kelly Landgraf from the faculty and Manual Marquez, the Dean of Students as each diploma was presented by a member of the school board. Each graduate had their picture taken with Mr. Echevarria. Most of the graduates will be attending college next fall, many at Arapahoe Community College.

The Salutatorian Monica Dinh gave the farewell address to the class. Armonie Espinoza explained the tradition of the turning of the tassles and all the graduates turned their tassles. The closing remarks were given by Mr. Echevarria. He told the graduates that "Once a Ram, always a Ram." "You are always welcome back home at Sheridan."

The Commencement Program is available at this link: Class of 2021.

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