Education column: Faculty, staff share thoughts on graduation

Graduation means endings and beginnings. Wayne Marshall, principal at Clovis High School, offered, “Graduation is a big deal. It encompasses all the emotions, and it is the culminating event of every student’s educational career. We feel it too; it’s always a little hard to see them go.”

Several of the administrators who work directly with CHS seniors recently shared their thoughts and experiences.

Pam Cornelison, head counselor at CHS, now in her 23rd year with the schools, described how gratifying it is to watch students graduate after having followed them through from the beginning of their sophomore year:

“We love graduation and view it as a very important event. We want everyone to understand that it is a formal occasion specifically to honor our students. We’re also excited about holding commencement for the second year at the Curry County Events Center out at the fairgrounds, too. We learned so much last year, and it’ll be even better and smoother this year.”

When asked what they’ve enjoyed about high school students, Craig Terry, assistant principal for seniors, offered: “I’ve worked with some of these kids since they were in junior high.”

Terry has worked for the school district for 15 years and has had experience at all grade levels before becoming an administrator. “We’re (including teachers) building better relationships with students, and that’s helping to keep them in school ‘til they graduate.”

Felicia Dobbs is the CHS counselor for the seniors. She loves the variety of her contact with the students: “A little bit of career, a little bit of mental health, along with educational needs. It’s great to see them grow and mature.”

What can we change to smooth the road to graduation? All agreed that it’s important for parents to remain consistently involved from their sophomore through senior year to avoid last minute scrambling. Parents are always welcome to come to the high school to discuss their child. In addition, throughout students’ high school careers there are opportunities such as open house parent nights, and weeks when extended hours are observed.

“One week each semester, we’re here from 7:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. for parents to come and confer. Parents can also access their students’ records any time online through Skyward, our student records program,” said Cornelison.

There are more than 400 students graduating from the Clovis schools this year. This includes around 90 from Choices, our alternative high school.

Bryan Craven, Choices’ principal shared a Dr. Seuss quote he passes along to his students: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”

Marshall’s advice to graduating students captures the same essence: “Remember who you are and where you came from. Don’t let the world decide who you will be; you decide who you will be.”

A verse by Guillaume Apollinaire reads, “Come to the edge, he said. They said: we are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them. And they flew.”

Hearty congratulations to all our graduates.

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the Instructional Technology Coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools and can be reached at