Friends and Neighbors

20220526 Friends and Neighbors

By Enola Gay Mathews

Two Graduates Among 1600 at Allen High School

I take pride in being the grandparent of a Class of 2022 high school graduate. In this case, two graduates. I have twin grandsons, Dorian and Dante Zapata, who received their diplomas on the night of May 20, 2022 at Eagle Stadium in Allen, Texas. Turbulent weather forecast for the evening failed to develop, thank heavens! allowing the long-awaited ceremony to play out exactly as rehearsed. My family joined hundreds of other families who came to applaud the graduates. And because our grads are always last alphabetically, we watched the first 1,590 students accept their diplomas before our boys’ turn came up! Our couple dozen family members produced some significant noise when our graduates crossed the stage!

The COVID era wrought difficulties in homes and challenges to so many families. Crucial high school instruction was undermined by attendance disruptions and distance learning, not to mention unwieldy social distancing requirements. Both major and lesser factors ultimately caused some students to lag behind. For my grandsons, having lost their mom in 2015 and being raised by a single dad who worked long hours were factors. During last summer’s visit with them, I began to fear that the boys might fail or drop out. In fact, Dante had shared with me that he might not be able to graduate with his class because his grades were low,  and that made him sad. It made me sad too, and worried. But somehow Allen ISD pulled those struggling kids through. Graduation 2022 ended up a victorious celebration for the 1600 students who claimed their diplomas onstage that night. Then, a majestic fireworks display became the cherry on top which finalized the ceremony and which the announcer called “a new tradition”. Thank you Allen ISD for your unforgettable celebration of the success of each student in the Class of 2022!

The inspiring quote “Hope” can have many applications, and I’d like to dedicate it to all the resilient individuals of the Class of 2022, including my grandsons, and wish them much hope for the future.

“For what it’s worth…it’s never too late, or is it ever too early, to be whatever you want to be. There’s no time line. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing, We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope that you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again”