BELTON — The Shoemaker High School Band played “Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D” Sunday night, as the 470 graduates from the class of 2013 took their seats in the center of Bell County Expo Center.

During the night’s first speech, graduate Rochelle Vazquez distinguished the qualities of her class and high school, which she said was the only one in the Killeen Independent School District to have a senior class trip and sent more athletes to the college level than any KISD school. She commended her classmates for their hard work.

“You guys are an accomplishment within yourselves,” Vazquez said. “After today, you can finally say, ‘I am a high school graduate.’ Be proud.”

The school’s choir sang the national anthem and “Do I Make You Proud,” a song about gratitude.

Six student officials dedicated the class gift — a $1,000 donation toward West relief efforts — and held a moment of silence.

God, parents, guardians, friends, teachers, staff and administration made commencement a reality, said salutatorian Neomary Calderon. Graduates could find strength in defying the words of naysayers, she said.

“Yet others belittle our accomplishments, believe that all we have done has been reached through love,” she said. “We cannot stop there. … I hope to look at a future medical researcher, who figures out how to cure cancer. I hope to be looking at an environmental lawyer, who helps to create a set of laws to protect our earth.”

Valedictorian Arri Caviness praised the efforts of her classmates. While she said high school was stressful, she also reminded graduates of the freedoms ahead.

“We have time to learn what we want to learn now that high school’s over, and if we keep learning a little bit of this, and a lot of that, eventually you’re going to find something that you really like to do,” she said.

Five KISD Board of Trustees scholarship recipients were recognized: Bridget Swift, Carol Isaac, Anfernee Folks, Naomi Cruz and Ariana Garcia.

The scholarships totaled $20,000.

Contact Brian Bradley at or (254) 501-7567

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