The 62nd commencement ceremony for Bullard High School had a moment of silence to remember a beloved classmate as well as a good-bye message from school principal Carlos Castillo after four years of serving in that capacity.
Castillo celebrated the achievement of the Class of 2019 over the last 13 years of school and asked the graduates to join him in recognizing their parents, family, friends, teachers and staff with a huge round of applause.
“It has been my honor to work on behalf of the Bullard Community for the past four years,” Castillo said. “Finding new ways to engage, interest, and challenge students while at the same time provide a safe and supportive environment has been a big piece of the work.”
Castillo said the most exciting and most rewarding piece has been to watch the students succeed and achieve.
Some of those achievements, Castillo said included:
▪ Earning entrance to many institutions of higher learning such as UC Davis, Cal Poly, UC Berkeley, Harvard, UCLA as well as many other universities;
▪ Competed in seven section championships winning four of them;
▪ Success in Mock Trial, bring home the hardware in speech and debate- sending yet more students to the state and national tournaments for at least 18 years in a row; etc.;
▪ Raised more than $1,200 for the Valley’s most needy babies in the third annual March of Dimes fundraiser run;
▪ And as a class students were involved in more than 100 clubs, activities and teams on campus.
“Many of you have pursued your education while facing many challenges. Some of you have lost loved ones at home or have been in very stressful situations,” Castillo said. “Some of you have had physical challenges or learned English as a second language and some of you have been without a home and other have had challenges in learning, yet you have persevered and overcome.”
“Some of you have live in this country undocumented and have still worked hard to achieve in school. I admired every one of you for going through those challenges the past four years,” Castillo said.
Castillo told the graduating class that he was “excited to see you all graduate this spring. You all came in four years ago as ninth graders. As you were freshman at Bullard, I too was a freshman principal four years ago.”
“Parents, I want to say thank you for trusting me with this charge for the past four years and students it has been my pleasure to serve you all,” Castillo said, adding “As you know, I will be transitioning into the role of instructional superintendent over curriculum and instruction next month. I want to be sure that you understand that it has been my pleasure to serve as principal here at Bullard High School.”
“It is only fitting that since we came in four years ago together that we leave together. And I am so happy that I get to do it with this fine group,” Castillo said.
The graduating students in the Class of 2019 – a total of 495 graduates – paused to acknowledge the life of Alex Bedard-Dureza, a graduating senior and magna cum laude valedictorian who unexpectedly passed away this past weekend.
Out of respect, the graduating class kept Bedard-Dureza’s seat open and placed his picture and a volleyball where he would have sat at Tuesday’s ceremony.
Valedictorian Nicholas Tom said a few words to honor his friend, classmate and fellow Knight.
“Whenever he spoke he captivated his audience by his obscurity spilling the most random facts at the perfect time to lighten the mood,” Tom said. “Alex carried a sense of charisma and positivity with him that was infectious, as he displayed his contagious smile, boosting the mood of those around him.”
“Alex did not only challenge himself, but he challenged others, Alex was a pioneer for the AP Ambassadors,” Tom added. “Alex would push each and every peer he came in contact with because his biggest job in life was seeing others succeed and keeping u p in their accomplishments.”
“Alex will live on in anyone who is proud to be called a knight. Once a knight, always a knight,” Tom said adding, “you will be missed my friend by many. You blessed this campus with your presence and we are forever grateful.”
Bullard High School
Date: June 4, 2019
Where: Save Mart Center
Latino valedictorians: Arianna Madrigal, Cynthia Mata, Anthony Ramirez, Genin Guzman, Melina Anguiano, Raymond Padilla, Nicole Guerrero, Nalani Cazares, Anna Gonzalez-Velez
Principal’s words: “It has been my honor to work on behalf of the Bullard Community for the past four years. Finding new ways to engage, interest, and challenge students while at the same time provide a safe and supportive environment has been a big piece of the work. But the most exciting and most rewarding piece of all of this has been and always will be for me, to watch our students succeed and achieve.”
Student’s words: Valedictorian Taylor Morgan said during her valedictory address: “The class of 2019’s journey from Kindergarten until today has transpired during a uniquely tumultuous historical time. For this reason, we are an extraordinarily bonded graduating class.”
Highlight: During the commencement ceremony a moment of silence took place to remember beloved classmate Alex Bedard-Dureza, magna cum laude valedictorian who unexpectedly passed away this past weekend.