Hundreds watch Memorial Junior High School live virtual graduation ceremony

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And thousands view the Facebook Live video later

by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (May 29, 2020) – With hearts, likes, and other emojis floating through the Facebook Live video, and family members posting comments in the sidebar, the virtual graduation ceremony created by District 158 on May 28 managed to convey some of the nostalgia and pride of a live commencement.

Dr. Keli Ross “emceed” the virtual commencement ceremony for Memorial Junior High’s Class of 2020.

The District 158 School Board and Superintendent Nathan Schilling had covered the cost of caps and gowns for all the 8th grade graduates as well as a professional photo shoot, so that members of the Class of 2020 would each have a graduation picture as a remembrance. Eighth-grade photos were displayed on screen as the 298 student names were read, and the graduation photos were displayed during a special number by the Memorial Junior High School Band.

At 7:54pm, Dr. Keli Ross instructed the Class of 2020 to move their tassels from right to left, and she pronounced them official graduates. A slideshow then depicted scenes from the school year prior to the stay-at-home order, as well as video messages from staff and teachers.

Common themes throughout the event—from teachers, Board members, and student leaders—included overcoming obstacles, making a difference in the community, and moving forward.

The program for the event included the following:

Pledge of Allegiance led by Genesis Aguilera, Rheanna Cortez, and Shania Ticer

Opening Statement by National Junior Honors Society President Annika Biegel

Opening Statement by Student Council President Zamyah Holmes

A Message from the Staff by Mr. Roberto Paredes, 8th Grade Assistant Principal

A Message from the Board by Robert Wood, District 158 School Board President

Presentation of the Class of 2020 by Dr. Nathan Schilling, District 158 Superintendent

Recognition of Achievements

  • Straight A students
  • State Science Fair qualifiers
  • Regional Baseball Champions
  • Regional Basketball Champions
  • National Junior Honor Society

Setting Goals Statement by Dawn Birkenfeld

Farewell Address by Angel Urquizo

Roll Call of Graduates by Dr. Keli Ross, Principal; Mr. Shawn Walsh, Associate Principal; and Mr. Roberto Paredes, 8th Grade Assistant Principal

Slideshow of Graduate Photos accompanied by the Memorial Junior High School Band

Moving of tassels

Slideshow of School Memories

Video Messages from Eighth-Grade Teachers

The Facebook Live video is available on the Lansing School District 158 Facebook page, or it can be viewed below:

The 298 graduates in the Memorial Junior High School Class of 2020 are listed alphabetically below:
Randy Ackerman
Dianey Acuna
Mario Acuna-Delgado
Dasia Adams
Emmanuel Aderemi
Abel Aguayo
Genesis Aguilera
Alexis Alberto
Joshua Alvarado
Donna Alvarez
Elizabeth Alvarez
Ta’Eona Andrews
Dion Andrews
Sofia Aranda
Rodrigo Arceo
Leon Archie Iii
Julian Arias
Daniel Avila
Emily Avila
Brian Avina
Opeyemi Azuka
Naliyah Ballard
Lewis Barney
Antanazah Basey
Jaliyah Bass
Vernon Batchelor
Yashayah Batiyah-Smith
Journey Batteast
Eddie Bell
Sijuade Bello
Yzrh Berry
Annika Biegel
Dawn Birkenfeld
Mia Bobadilla
Tyreke Bond
Jaden Brent
Tobias Brooks
Madison Brown
Asia Bryant
Emily Cabrera
Grecia Calderon
Arylyn Calloway
Jordyn Caridine-Dix
Adrian Casimiro
Angelia Castellano
Nathalia Castellanos
Humberto Catalan
Carlos Cervantes
Adolfo Cervantes
Jennifer Cervantes Cubillo
Amarion Chandler-Terrell
Sheldon Clay
Sara Cleveland
Sabriya Coker
Marquial Coleman
Aliya Collins
Nykole Collins
Matyesn Colvin
Avaleen Correa
Rheanna Cortez
Miles Courtney
James Cuellar
Sheleah Cummings
Dnajah Daniels
Jaden Davis
Dajon Davis
Dartanyen Davis III
Dartanyen Davis Jr.
Ramon Davis Jr.
Jaden Dickey
Alexis Dixon
Emily Dominiak
Keziah Duckworth
Tyler Earmsmuth
Marquise Ellis
Natalia Espinoza
Ryan Espinoza
Edgar Estrada
Christopher Favela
Briana Ferrer
Diar Fleming
Avery Flores
Diego Flores
Israel Flores
Jaliyah Ford
Dafne Fuentes-Galicia
Christopher Gales
Diego Garcia
Alyssa Garcia
Juana Garcia
Damian Garcia
Alejandro Garcia
Olivia Gifford
Kristian Glass
Angel Gomez
Victoria Gonzalez
Ezrah Gonzalez
Jasmine Grados
Victoria Grant
Ainsley Grant
Samaria Green
Jordan Griffin
Terrell Hall
Mena Halliburton
Jada Hampton
Jaylon Hannah
Carla Harris
Bruce Anthony Harris
Shanaiya Harrison
Tramaine Haynes
Aalisha Hendrix
Alani Higgins
Danielle Hill
Eboni Hodges
Zamyah Holmes
Dqwame Hoskins
Trevaughn Howse
Charlise Hunley
Tyrone Hymon Jr
Kimberly Jabaay
Geneiah Jackson
Lakayla Jackson
Adrian Jackson Jr
Laila James
Jerry Jeffries
Tacori Jennings
Taisen Jimerson
Sanai Johnson
Cheryl Jones
A’jouel Jones
Kelina Jones
Bianca Jones
Mya Jordan
Jackson Jordan
Quimari Joyner
Reginald Kelsey
Kailyn Keys
Haylee Kooy
Jonathan Layne
Tionna Lee
Jordi Leon
Ryan Levy
Nathan Lewis
Mia Lindsey
Cheldon Link
Sheilliyah Lipscomb
Justus Lockett
Trinity Lockett
Nasia Lopez
Janiya Lucas
Lillian Luchene
Michael Lumpkins
Jasmin Maciel
Jakelin Maciel
Yulissa Macudzinski
Evangelina Magdaleno
Aaron Major
Trinity Malloy
Sergio Marin
Jail Martinez
Pricilla Martinez
Moises Mata
Nathan Mbonu
Damya Mccarter
Destin Mccullough
Julian Mckenna
Caris Mcmullan
Gakobie Mcneal
Giovanni Melgoza
Angela Mendez
Elliana Mickens
Charles Miles
Madison Miller-Bridges
Lateona Mills
Jesus Miranda
Camille Moore
Dershawn Moore
Kaylah Morales
Leandro Morales
Antoine Morgan
Terance Morrison
Joshua Moss
Gloria Munoz
Damarion Murray
Aromis Nash
Leonardo Nava
Arianna Neal
Ethan Neal
Joshua Noubadan
Mariyah Nowden
Nicholas Nowicki
Na’Yae Nunley
Erik Ochoa Hernandez
Nimotalahi Odoffin
Aaron Olivar
Diego Olivares
Xavier Olivares
Camryn Olson
Jameson Onayo
Jimena Ortega
Dwight Paino
Daniel Patton
Nevaeh Pearce
Enrique Perez
Manuel Perez
Ciera Pierce
Abigael Popp
Samantha Popp
Michael Powell
Alison Prokop
Christopher Quilhot
Zachary Quinn
Giselle Ramirez
Leah Reyes
Lorenzo Reynolds
Emanuel Richardson
Jikbrian Richie
Dejon Ricketts
Hugo Rincon Flores
Vivica Rivera
Derick Rivera
Donovan Rivera
Shawntasia Rivers
Natalia Rodriguez
Eduardo Rodriguez
Kendall Rogers
Nathan Romero
Aaliyah Ross
Angel Ruiz
Angel Saenz
Angelina Samawi
Angel Sanchez
Kiefer Sanderson
Gloria Santiago
Journee Saulsberry
Leticia Segura
Ashley Serna
Litzy Serna-Ramirez
Fabiola Serna-Ramirez
Coreona Shannon
Brian Sheard
Sierah Shelby
Payton Shields
A Zariah Simmons
Nakarie Smith
Seneca Smith
Angel Somerville
Jacob Stachelski
Jack Starcevich
ShyBria Starkley
Taniyah Starks
Charles Steele
Brianna Sullivan
Ariana Taboada
Netrice Taylor
Neichar Taylor
Arianna Terrell Cooper
Karter Thomas
Brooklynn Thomas
Michael Thomas-Johnson
Alanni Thornton
Shania Ticer
Cedric Tientcheu
Anijsha Titsworth
Godiva Tordjo
Oswaldo Tovar
Johnnia Towns
Dorian Toy
Emmanuel Ukagwu
Angel Urquizo
Nancy Valle
Kenneth Van
Adrian Vanbyssum
Kamaun Vance
Abigail Vary
Cortez Vaughn-Mitchell
Miguel Verdin
Mariana Villagomez
Apollonia Villalpando
Elianna Villasenor
Ezra Vitale
Michael Waites
Keywan Walker
Zahara Ward
Kylia Ward
Adam Watters
Michael Waupoose
Gabriel Webb-Azrael
Cameron Wheatley
Duke White
Rebekah Whitfield
Alexis Williams
Katrina Williams
Eric Williams
Katlynn Williams-Clark
Trani’yah Wilson
Asia Winters
Emma Wories

Memorial Junior High School is located at 2721 Ridge Road in Lansing, Illinois. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)