Clovis High students walk across stage at events center

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Clovis High School graduate Josh Freeman cheers on stage after receiving his diploma during CHS commencement held Saturday at the Curry County Events Center.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Even though there were nearly 5,000 people at Clovis High School’s graduation on Saturday, graduate Laura Barela could point out her cluster of supporters.

A group of 20 of Barela’s family members donned specially-printed turquoise T-shirts with a graphic including Barela’s name, senior class of 2010 and a yellow ‘Support the Troops’ ribbon.

Barela’s mother, Rosie Barela, who printed the shirts, said wearing matching T-shirts has become a tradition in their family. Barela’s older sister graduated last year in Nevada and the family did the same thing.

“I want my daughters to know that no matter where we are at, we support what they’ve done,” Rosie Barela said.

Barela said several family members are in the military, including Laura’s older sister.

“It’s important for them to know that we’re proud of them and support them,” Barela said.

Laura Barela said she wore one of the shirts when her sister graduated last year and enjoyed it from both sides.

“It makes me happy because I know they’re there,” she said.

The graduate’s aunt, Andrea Armendariz, said she’s planning to do the same with lime green shirts when her son graduates next year.

“It’s an awesome tradition,” she said. “It makes a great memory too. We get to keep them and take them out and we can think about today.”

First year Clovis High School Principal Wayne Marshall thanked graduates during the ceremony for teaching him to bleed purple.

“Thanking them (during the ceremony) was a sincere thanks,” Marshall said. “There is lots of school spirit and school pride in this community. It’s everywhere. I haven’t been in a community like that.”

The class of 2010, made up of 389 students, was the last graduating class of CHS to include students who graduated from Gattis Junior High School before it became the Freshman Academy.

The 2010 class was also the first to graduate at the Curry County Events Center.