EL MONTE – The El Monte Union High School District honored more than 2,000 members of the Class of 2018 in commencement ceremonies that included teachers and staff proudly looking on, excited students waving their diplomas through the air and families and friends cheering loudly from the stands.

“It has been a privilege to watch our students grow into the young adults they are today, prepared to tackle challenges of tomorrow and ready for the next step in their academic and professional careers,” Superintendent Dr. Edward Zuniga said.

“From the first day students’ stepped onto our campuses to the last day when they crossed those stages, our teachers, staff and administrators have been there to support and guide them in reaching this momentous milestone,” Zuniga said. “I want to thank the El Monte Union community for coming together in support of our students’ everlasting success.”

The District celebrated 530 graduating seniors from Arroyo High School, 427 students from El Monte High School, 322 students from Mountain View High, 394 seniors from Rosemead High and 305 students from South El Monte High. Fernando R. Ledesma graduated 75 students and the El Monte-Rosemead Adult School celebrated 90 students at its ceremony.

Together, the five comprehensive high schools produced 58 valedictorians with GPAs of 4.2 or higher; many plan to pursue majors in science, technology, engineering and math at prestigious universities.

Among these students are South El Monte’s Sandra Amezcua, who has a 4.47 GPA and will head to Yale University; Rosemead High’s Alec Nguyen, who has a 4.45 GPA and will attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Arroyo High’s Eldon Ngo, who carries a 4.4 GPA and will attend UCLA; El Monte High’s Ishael Garcia, whose 4.37 GPA earned him a spot at Stanford University; and Mountain View’s Ethan Huang, who carries a 4.3 GPA and will attend UCLA.

“In the coming years, we will not remember some of the theories and formulas we learned in class or even the people around you, but we will remember the love we shared and the growth we experienced,” said Michael Nguyen, who is headed to MIT and served as one of Arroyo High’s 12 valedictorians. “We owe it to ourselves and this school to continue to manifest the lessons we learned and embody values we were taught here.”
Students also acknowledge teachers and staff who encouraged and supported them throughout high school.

“Thank you so much for pushing me to strive to do my best,” said El Monte High student speaker Ismael Garcia. “Because of all of you, because of your love, your devotion to your job and your hard work, you have given us invaluable knowledge for a better future and a better life.”

“You have lifted us during difficult struggles and have always appropriated time for students,” added Gavin Spillards, one of South El Monte High’s five graduation speakers.

At Rosemead High School’s graduation, administrators bestowed a high school diploma on 90-year-old Navy veteran Kelly Crowell as his wife and children looked on. Crowell, who volunteers as a pitching coach for the Rosemead girls’ softball team, dropped out of school in 1946 to join the service.

“It’s exciting to be with the kids and show them that it’s never too late to finish what you started,” he said.

Graduation photos are available on the District’s Facebook page.


060718_EMUHSD_GRAD1: Clad in sashes, medals and ropes, Arroyo High School seniors celebrate their commencement on May 31.

060718_EMUHSD_GRAD2: El Monte High School’s Cesar Frias, who will attend Georgetown University, touches the high school lion after receiving his diploma during the school’s graduation ceremony on May 31.

060718_EMUHSD_GRAD3: Mountain View High School students make their way onto the field during the school’s commencement ceremony on May 31.

060718_EMUHSD_GRAD4: Navy veteran Kelly Crowell receives a high school diploma from El Monte Union Board of Trustees member Florencio Briones during Rosemead High School’s graduation on May 31.

060718_EMUHSD_GRAD5: South El Monte High seniors await their moment in the spotlight as they receive their diplomas during the school’s ceremony on May 31.

060718_EMUHSD_GRAD6: Fernando R. Ledesma High students celebrate their successes during the school’s graduation ceremony on May 31.

060718_EMUHSD_GRAD7: El Monte-Rosemead Adult School celebrates its May 30 graduation ceremony with speakers Carmen Herrera and Xavier Guevara.