The seven special seniors of Austwell-Tivoli High School shone bright at graduation, turning their tassels toward the future May 28.
Receiving their diplomas inside the high school gym were Christofer Garcia, Preston Davenport, Justine Gonzales, Madison Herrera, Lauren Lutz, Isaiah Torres and Carlos Tovar.
Lutz, the 2021 class valedictorian, stated that each of her fellow graduates brought a unique set of loving traits to the table.
“Class of 2021, you taught me more than I’d ever imagined,” she said in her address. I am so blessed to be part of this class … thank you all for your love and time, thank you for the memories we’ve made together. I love you all, and I expect success from all of you.”
Both Lutz and salutatorian Herrera went down the list of Redfish in their white cloth-adorned chairs.
Garcia was noted as teaching Lutz to never stop trying, with the valedictorian saying “his commitment has never failed to impress me.” Herrera complimented his lighter side, saying he knew how to make the class laugh even on a rough day.
Davenport was said to be a “model for wellness,” teaching the value of slowing down and appreciating the people around you. His “quiet confidence” was echoed by Herrera, who praised his independent nature.
Gonzales showed Herrera how to “finish what you started,” while Lutz complimented the graduate as a “great support system.”
Torres, said Lutz, taught the class acceptance and patience, always making the time for advice. Herrera stated that Torres showed that “it’s okay to be different.”
Tovar taught Lutz to never forget about the small details in life, and was said to have brought laughter to even an empty room.
The class’ top two graduates also brought their own skill-set. Lutz said that Herrera taught the power of forging relationships, while Herrera noted that Lutz showed how to have an independent opinion without care of outside voices.
“We have all grown here at Austwell-Tivoli High School,” Herrera said in her salutatorian address. “More than we ever thought possible. Now that we know we can, we will never stop growing as people. As we move to the next stage in our lives, I trust my classmates to keep growing … once a Redfish, always a Redfish.”
Before receiving their diplomas, several Redfish were informed by counselor William Lumpkins of awards and scholarships. Gonzales received $2,000 in science EMT scholarship funds, Torres received $500 and Herrera received $500 from the Refugio County Retired School Personnel.
Lutz took home the largest scholarship figure of the night, a $24,745 grant from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. The graduate will be attending the university, also receiving the Texas Honor Graduate scholarship from the school which exempts payment for her first two semesters. Lutz also took home a TAMU-CC achieve scholarship worth $1,500, the Tony Garza memorial scholarship worth $300, and the award for ATHS Outstanding Senior from the Refugio County Chamber of Commerce.
Hitting high marks led Lutz to her valedictorian address, sending some advice to her fellow Redfish.
“Dare to dream, and don’t be afraid to work. Most importantly, don’t forget the value of friendship. We made it here today because we did it together.”