Last week’s graduation ceremonies were emotional events for many Tucson International Academy (TIA) students and families celebrating various milestones. For Kindergarten graduates, 5th graders moving up to middle school, 8th graders being promoted to high school, and seniors finishing their time at TIA, it was a moment to reflect on past achievements and contemplate future opportunities.
Seven seniors graduated and gave speeches at their respective campuses. Two of them—Alejandro del Hierro and Christian Robles—received the Pima Merit Scholarship, a full two-year scholarship to Pima Community College awarded to the top eight percent of seniors in Pima County. At the East Campus, where no seniors graduated, 8th graders gave speeches, sharing what they liked about their school, teachers, and friends.
Other featured speakers at the ceremonies included TIA Superintendent Dr. Herrera, affectionately known as “Dr. J”. She congratulated parents for helping their children succeed, and reiterated the school’s commitment to guide each of them toward college. Terri Martinez of the University of Arizona spoke at the Broadway and West Campuses, adding her voice to Dr. J’s in encouraging all students—not just the seniors—to make college their goal after graduation. This year’s seniors are already tracking with that goal, all of them being accepted at Pima Community College and having applications in at the University of Arizona.
Graduation was also an occasion to confer several awards: Perfect Attendance, Chinese Student of the Year, Spanish Student of the Year, and Global Citizen. Criteria for the Chinese and Spanish Student of the Year includes grades and participation in class projects and school events such as the Language Fair, Cinco de Mayo, and Chinese New Year. The Global Citizen award is the highest honor bestowed by TIA, encompassing all the school’s philosophies and objectives. Teachers nominate students on the basis of their grades, participation in the classroom, social interaction with their peers, and travel they have done.
Family and Alumni Support All
Turnout was great at each event, according to Administrative Assistant Arlene Canez, who attended all four graduations. For her, the highlight was seeing how much support the kids had: “For each grade that was featured, the families came out in droves.” In addition to family, each campus also had a good showing of alumni who came back to encourage their graduating friends.
And now the students can enjoy a well-deserved summer respite from the textbooks. But not for long, because there’s an exciting new chapter of learning ahead for everyone.