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Graduation season will get underway at 7:30 p.m. Thursday when the 430 members of Lopez Early College High School’s 2023 graduating class gather at Sams Memorial Stadium for the first of seven BISD ceremonies celebrating this year’s graduates.
In all, 3,059 Brownsville Independent School District students are set to graduate during commencement exercises that will take place on one morning and successive evenings at the stadium, marking the continuation of a tradition that goes back more than 100 years. The Brownsville Independent School District was established in 1915.
“You are now at the end of your high school education and at the beginning of the rest of your life,” BISD Superintendent of Schools Rene Gutierrez says in a letter to the graduates.
“What that is exactly will be different for each of you. Don’t forget that. There is no wrong or right answer as you embark on your unique and precious journey. Whether you find yourself at the aspiring grounds of your new university, the front lines of the modern workforce, or under the prestigious banner of the Armed Forces, remember that the part you play matters! You are and always will be an integral part of your community,” the letter states.
To date, this year’s graduates have received $97 million in scholarship offers from colleges and universities around the country, but a year ago, BISD students ended up receiving more that $111 million in scholarship offers, so the total will increase. Additionally, BISD awarded $1,000 scholarships to 120 graduating seniors from funds raised through the 20th annual Superintendent’s Scholarship Golf Tournament earlier this spring.
So far, BISD has raised $1.4 million and awarded scholarships to 1,300 students through the program.
Among the graduates, more than 300 also will receive associate degrees through dual enrollment at Texas Southmost College, BISD said.
“Take pride in everything you do. Let it be a reflection of who you are. Be kind to everyone you meet. The lives you touch will truly determine your wealth in life. Never cease to expand your knowledge. The things you learn will always serve as the momentum to propel you forward in life. This advice will not only serve your own benefit but will endow your community with a priceless resource, yourself,” Gutierrez says in the letter, written on his behalf and that of the BISD Board of Trustees.
“You can do anything you put your mind to. You’ve already proven this, time and time again. So, hold your head up high as you face the future. You are now the essence of our great city, and all that it can be. Go out and make it so,” the letter states.
Following Lopez, Brownsville Early College High School’s 72 graduates will have commencement exercises at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Texas Southmost College Performing Arts Center.
That evening, ceremonies start at 7:30 p.m. at Sams for Hanna Early College High School’s 560 graduates. Ceremonies take place at the same time on following nights in this order:
>> Pace Early College High School, 509 graduates;
>> Porter Early College High School, 367 graduates;
>> Veterans Memorial Early College High School, 556 graduates;
>> Rivera Early College High School, 565 graduates.
In the event of inclement weather, ceremonies will take place in the gymnasium at Rivera. In case that happens, each graduate will be issued two tickets because of space limitations.
The graduates also have all received a set of attendance guidelines and safety procedures.
The guidelines notify graduates and their families and friends that they will have to pass through metal detectors at the gate and that weapons, drugs, alcoholic beverages, air horns, noise makers, balloons, silly string and sales by private vendors will not be allowed.
Students are advised not to bring coats or bags with them, and there is also a list of approved and non-approved bags for guests, as well as evacuation procedures.