Senior Circle allows the community to celebrate Presidio High graduates

PRESIDIO — For Presidio High School seniors, four years of papers, passing periods and pop quizzes were supposed to be rewarded by being able to partake in the long-standing Senior Circle tradition — just like each graduating class before them.

The plans for many major events have been swiftly canceled amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the Senior Circle, an event centered around the unification of the graduates through holding hands in a circle, was at risk of the same fate.

Marina Sanchez, a senior at Presidio High School, initially thought that the COVID-19 pandemic would be a brief event. She said that going into spring break she and other classmates believed that it would be over within weeks. Sanchez also said that she felt that, because of the pandemic, her class was being robbed of core high school experiences such as prom and, of course, the Senior Circle.

However, despite all of the uncertainty, PHS seniors will be granted an altered version of the Senior Circle that will see graduates decorate their cars and make their way through downtown Presidio so the community can celebrate their achievements. When speaking about the event, Sanchez expressed that she was grateful for the efforts to provide a celebration for her and her classmates.

“I think that it is great that they are doing something for us, especially to be able to do it in front of the whole community, so they can at least see us get our diploma and celebrate with us,” Said Sanchez

Sanchez said that she as well as other graduates were feeling very excited to still be able to be honored by the community and that it meant a lot to still be able to have that happen. Sanchez also found a way to stay positive when she expressed that, while it is disappointing not to have a traditional celebration, she knows her class will always be remembered as the ones who had to adapt to such an unexpected situation.

Iris Galindo, Sanchez’s mother, said that she is trying her best to stay positive during this difficult situation. She said that she knows Sanchez is disappointed, and she wants to stay positive to make things easier for both of them.

While the situation is not optimal — and certainly unique — it is a reality, and Galindo feels that it is important to make the best of it. When asked if she felt sad about not getting to see her daughter graduate in a traditional sense, she expressed some sadness.

“I was excited for her to graduate, and it is a bit bittersweet that not all of our friends and family will be able to share this moment with her, but there is not much we can do,” said Galindo.

In regards to the Senior Circle celebration, Galindo said that, while it is different, she is happy to hear that it is going to be held because she thinks it is a great way to still enable the community to celebrate and honor the graduates.

“I really appreciate everything that is being done. I know it has been hard for the school to handle all of this, so everything they have done for the (the graduates) has been greatly appreciated,” said Galindo.

Galindo said that she feels events such as the Senior Circle have helped to bring the community together in a time of strife, and she feels that is important. Lastly, she said that she hopes her daughter and other graduates can use this situation in a positive way to become better and more appreciative people.

Joel Nuñez, chief deputy for Presidio County Sheriff’s Office, played a role in putting the altered version of the Senior Circle together and said he wanted to do so to still give the graduates and community some kind of celebration.

“Students would ask me if we were going to be able to have a Senior Circle and initially we said no, but then the idea came up of let’s have an escort and call it a Senior Circle so we can have a complete ceremony,” said Nuñez.

He also stated that once the idea was put forward, all of the officers were very excited to make it happen and be able to give the seniors a proper celebration. Additionally, Nuñez talked about the significance of graduation and why that was also a motivation to do something for graduates.

“This is a moment in time that they are going to remember forever, and so we wanted to make it as special as possible, while at the same time being safe,” said Nuñez.

Nuñez echoed the sentiments of Galindo when he expressed his belief that an event such as this is a way to bring the community together during trying times. Nuñez talked about some of the safety measures that will be put in place: Nuñez advised attendees to wear masks, stand six feet apart and not to throw anything from vehicles.

The Senior Circle celebration will be this Friday, May 29, starting at the city swimming pool and proceeding along O’Reilly Street.