351 Brawley Students Celebrate On A Warm Summer Night

Chris Furguson

A Seat at the Brawley High Class of 2011 Graduation ceremony is decorated in honor of fallen student Anthony Garcia who passed away due to cancer earlier this year. The seat was located where Garcia would have sat during the ceremony. In total, 351 students were given their diplomas during the evening June 9th. More photos inside. Chris Furguson Photo.

Graduation.  For some, it signals the end of a special time in their lives.  For others, it’s the start of their futures.
Some students, like Donald Wharton, their immediate future will be secure.  Wharton was one of a handful of students nationwide who earned an appointment to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Others will have their futures pass through Imperial Valley College and the SDSU Campuses in Brawley and Calexico and some will have military or work in their near future.
An official tally of 351 senior Wildcats crossed the threshold into their futures on June 9, 2010 during the Brawley Union High School Class of 2011 Graduation ceremony at Warne Field.
The ceremony saw a large number of parents sitting behind their graduating students as well as a packed house on both sides of the field’s bleachers full of friends and family.
The entire crowd stood in respect as the students marched down the field towards their seats, accompanied by the first march of Sir Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance.”  They were followed by the U.S. Army Color Guard and a rendition of the national anthem by Reina Ayon.
Class of 2011 President Anastassia Cabanillas and Secretary Yesenia Sanchez welcomed the assembled group followed by message by class counselor Frank Felix.
Felix was also the subject of a special recognition made by the Class of 2011.
At this point, speeches made by Salutatorian Kimberley Servera and Co-Valedictorians Melina Torres and Sarah Proo took place.
Servera will attend University of Portland [Oregon] in the fall while Torres will be headed to Yale and Proo moves on to Cornell University in New York.
The event continued with the certification announcement by Tony Munguia, followed by a special honorary diploma given to the family of Anthony Garcia, a student who passed away of cancer earlier this year.  The family was given a standing ovation by the assembled crowd.  After giving thanks to the students and attendees, members of Anthony’s family rang the Victory Bell in his honor.
The students also decorated the chair where Anthony would have sat with a special picture, his Bell Game jersey, a helmet, a football, and a small patch of grass.  The Graduation ceremony was also dedicated to Anthony’s memory.
“They’re a great group of kids to do that,” said one parent.  “This is an exceptional group.”
After all 351 students were named and presented their diplomas by the BUHS Board of Trustees, a fireworks display signaled the end of the ceremony.