Houston Independent School District’s 2023 summer graduates walked the stage at Delmar Fieldhouse Saturday, Aug. 19, in front of friends, family, and the educators who help them along the way.
This summer graduation marks the first commencement ceremony presided over by HISD’s new superintendent, Mike Miles. In his keynote address, Miles applauded the graduates for overcoming the challenges that they faced traversing the ups and downs of high school life while also dealing with the constant curveballs of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“No one could really blame you if you felt like giving up,” Miles said. “But therein lies the inspiration and hope for the rest of us, because you did not give up. In the face of these challenges, you found a way to overcome. You found a way to beat the odds. We’re so proud of you, and we applaud both your successes and your potential.”
This acknowledgement was especially meaningful to this group of graduating seniors, who were only one year into their high school career when COVID-19 turned the world on its head and saw most of them attending their classes remotely for over a year.
“I’m excited to graduate today because it’s a great accomplishment, and I know it’s going to help me later on in life,” said Sharpstown High School graduate Viviana Lazaro. “I had a rough time with COVID, but at the end of the day, we had to do what we had to do, and we made it.”
This year’s summer graduation included students from Austin, Bellaire, Chavez, Energized for STEM Academy, Furr, Heights, Houston MSTC, Jones Futures Academy, Kashmere, Lamar, Liberty, Madison, Middle College HS-Gulfton, Milby, North Forest, Northside, Sharpstown, Sharpstown International, South Early College, Sterling, Texas Connections Academy @ Houston, Waltrip, Washington, Westbury, Westside, Wheatley, Wisdom, Worthing, and Yates High Schools.
After the presentation of colors by students from Waltrip High School’s JROTC, graduates walked the stage to receive their diplomas, shaking hands with a representative from their high school’s administrative staff and either the superintendent or a member of the school board.
“Down the road, if you ever have a moment of self-doubt and fear, please remember this moment of power and pride,” Miles said. “You are awesome, and you will overcome.”