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Graduation News

It’s time for 2021 graduates to turn their tassels

CBS 13's April Hettinger dives into a few local grad's future in academics

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - High school graduates across Yuma County will soon be turning their tassels as a recognition of their achievements following a year unlike any other. 

The Class of 2021 was fortunate enough to have improvised senior festivities such as prom, graduation and other senior traditions.

Yuma Union High School District is allowing up to four guests per graduate and they must be specified online in advance.

"What this virus did for them, it did not affect their looking forward in their lives. They have a lot of different types of goals," according to Monique Manifold, AP English Teacher at Cibola High School. "A lot of them are academic in nature, a lot of them are personal in nature, and they’re not letting this virus get them down."

"They definitely feel bad for how their senior year turned out, but the kids have persevered," said Kristin Collins, a senior English Teacher at Cibola High School.

Students at Yuma Catholic High School will be acknowledged for their achievements next Friday, May 28.

On top of a high school diploma, Yuma Catholic senior Makena Verdugo will be receiving her associate's degree with Arizona Western College (AWC). After high school, she is pursuing a degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Arizona.

"That would be my pre-med track because I really want to become a dermatologist and hopefully open my own practice locally to give back to Yuma because it’s a really great community," Vergudo explained.

But, other students like Nacho Gutierrez are going into college with a more open mindset.

"I think our biggest liability as seniors is like our need to succeed, like our need to always find ourselves on the sweet side of the bell curve and have our future planned out and decided," Gutierrez explained. "In reality, I think our plans change and that’s okay."

Assistant principal of academics at Yuma Catholic, Sherryl Gerber is proud of the seniors for being go-getters and taking their education to the next level.

"The students amaze me with the things that they are going to study, the things that they’ve accomplished here at Yuma Catholic," Gerber stated. "The fact that we have 15 of our 86 of our seniors graduating with an associates degree from AWC prior to graduation from Yuma Catholic."

Director of Counseling for Yuma Catholic, Terra Stallworth has been with the seniors all year, getting them prepared for college applications.

"They’re a small class. They’re 86 students, and I believe they’ve earned over $11.5 million in scholarships, and that is fantastic," Stallworth said.

All graduations will be live streamed on Facebook.

Top Stories / Yuma County / Yuma Education
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April Hettinger

April was born and raised in San Diego where she loved the beach town and her two dogs, Lexi and Malibu. She decided to trade the beach for the snow and advanced her education at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

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