Rio Rancho teacher builds stage in front yard for graduates to hold mini ceremonies | KOB 4

Rio Rancho teacher builds stage in front yard for graduates to hold mini ceremonies

Joy Wang
Created: May 20, 2020 10:21 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Graduating from high school is a major milestone and huge accomplishment, but that moment is looking different for many seniors because of COVID-19.

A Rio Rancho family stepped up to give seniors a proper celebration by building a stage in their front yard.

Whether a graduate is just getting started or ready to take on the real world, this is a moment they'll never forget.

“I’m moving out to Kentucky,” said Nicholas Rotert, a Rio Rancho High School Graduate. “I’ve got a job lined up. I’m going to trade school.”

“I'm going to school for nursing,” said Lauryn Ramirez, a Rio Rancho Cyber Academy graduate.

“When they told us that, like, it was gonna fly by, we didn't believe it at first,” explained graduate Mauricio Mata- Chavez. “But it definitely flew by.”

At the end of all that hard work, there was not even an in-person graduation to celebrate.

“No senior prank, no senior prom, no senior ditch day,” said Mata-Chavez.

For mother Carmen Rotert, this would have been her last high school send off. Her four boys, are now all adults.

“I love my mom. She did everything for me,” said her son Nicholas. "She helped me get through school. Wouldn’t be able to do without her.”

So, like always, a mom did her best to make things better. Krystal Cunningham, a Rio Rancho Public Schools teacher and mom with three graduates—two of them high school seniors—built a stage in her front yard so her community could have mini ceremonies.

“It's great to see the parents and the moms crying and, and I cry every time a senior goes across the stage because I know how it is,” said Cunningham. “I’m a mom.”

The class of 2020, without a clear vision of what the future holds, has had the resilience to push forward anyway.

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