January 8, 2018 (Link to Facebook Live Video by Center Independent School District) - Roughrider Academy, Center ISDs newest campus focused on providing a self-paced curriculum for students in secondary education, hosted their inaugural graduation for 16 students on January 4.
“I am so proud of these students and honored to get to work with them,” Roughrider Academy Director Jill Gaston said. “These students worked extremely hard to complete all requirements of the State of Texas to graduate. They enrolled on our campus by choice, took their education seriously, and completed their high school education in their own time. I sincerely wish them all the best in whatever path they choose, be it work, college, trade school, or military.”
Kendyl Ray delivered a tearful student address, thanking the RRA staff and her family for aiding in her accomplishment and addressing the transition from Center High School to Roughrider Academy.
“Moving to the Academy was a hard and stressful move,” Ray said. “I gave up all the bells and whistles of my senior year to graduate early and be here today giving my student address. I constantly had people telling me I was making a terrible choice, and I would be crazy to [change schools]. Well, looks like I’m crazy because I have to say, this was the best decision of my life.”
Superintendent James Hockenberry accepted the graduates before diplomas were awarded.
“I appreciate the opportunity to offer remarks about the Roughrider Academy Graduation ceremony,” Hockenberry said. “The newest Center ISD campus, the Roughrider Academy, is far exceeding our expectations for the first year. To witness and participate in the first-ever graduation ceremony for Roughrider Academy is one of the finest and emotional moments of my career.
“I want to personally congratulate each of the 16 graduates and thank them for having the courage to take a different path toward a common goal. I also want to commend Mrs. Gaston and her team for creating and executing a new vision and direction for a large part of our student population. I look forward to many more graduation ceremonies in the future.”
The Roughrider Academy graduates are: Maria Guadalupe Angel, Kissel Arcibar, KeyShawn L Barnes, Aurora Bustos Camacho, Calob Matthew Chisenhall, Da’Rya Onea Eaden, Jesus J Gonzalez, Sparkle Shanavia Lilly, Caleb Michell McDonald, Kendal Jewel Ray, Tavares Elisha Riley, Miguel Antonio Robledo, Pablo Ruben Roldan, Hunter Paul Smith, Elizabeth Jill Starkey, and Kobe Michael Whisenant.