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13 graduate from Texas Early College High School in Marshall

By Meredith Shamburger
May 22, 2016 at 4 a.m.

TECHS student Maria Acuna poses for a family photo in her cap and gown Saturday at the Marshall Convention Center.

Texas Early College High School Valedictorian Austin Lee Miguez knows the future is bright for him and his classmates.

He brought the sunglasses to prove it and whipped them out at the end of his graduation speech, after encouraging his classmates to stand up for what they belief in and work for their own success.

"You must be true to yourself," Miguez said. "Do not think the world will hand you opportunities; go out and make success happen."

Thirteen students at Texas Early College High School graduated Saturday at the Marshall Convention Center. Six of those students have also con-currently graduated from Panola College with an associate degree.

It was an intimate ceremony, although the family and friends section took up half the auditorium. Students entered and took their place on stage while school officials read out their accomplishments and goals.

Students celebrating their high school and associate degrees wore black robes. After walking with their classmates to receive their diplomas, school officials called them up again to give each a medal signifying their associate degree.

Miguez noted in his speech that he used to be one of the many students wanting graduation to hurry up and come.

"However, within the past year, I decided to take a step back and view life through a different lens," he said. "Instead of counting down to graduation, I decided to count up the days and enjoyed each and every single one."

In her speech, Salutatorian Jessica Moore said she began trying to write her address by Googling "high school graduation speeches." She came up with hundreds of videos and speech after speech. In the end, Moore decided to take direction from Disney movies.

"Between our high school courses and the college classes we so bravely enrolled in, we learned that, as Sebastian would say, the human world is a mess," she said. "Come sophomore and junior year, our stress levels only got higher, but we had to 'just keep swimming' and try to not fail British Lit.

"But before we knew it, we were seniors and we started counting down the days until graduation," she said. "We didn't realize that we were making memories; we just knew we were having fun."

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