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VRHS Grads: Always Remember, “We are VR”

Graduate celebrates on stage

Nearly 380 graduates from Vista Ridge High School gathered on May 24 at The Broadmoor World Arena to mark one of life’s biggest milestones—high school graduation.

Enthusiastic family and friends filled the arena, and district leaders and members of the Board of Education were in attendance to join in the celebration.

Happy graduate leaves ceremony

“I am truly feeling a ton of pride,” said Thomas Payne, principal. “I’m proud of how you handled COVID at the beginning of your high school experience. You showed resilience and persisted through ups and downs … I am extraordinarily proud of our students who have chosen to serve our country through military service … I am proud of our athletic achievements … I am proud of our students who stood up for each other when they saw injustice, prejudice, violence, or inequality … I am proud of the students who saw themselves land in hard times emotionally, physically, spiritually and socially, and reached out for help and took steps forward to succeed and thrive,” Payne said.

Student and staff speakers shared similar remarks that reminded graduates of what it means to say, “We are VR.”

“As we look back on our time together, we are reminded of the friendships forged, the lessons learned, and the memories created,” said Valedictorian Alex Ai. “Each experience—whether academic, extracurricular, or personal—has contributed to our growth and prepared us for the next chapter of our lives.”

Principal addresses students

Although graduation marks a time of moving on, Principal Payne added one bit of reassurance, “Class of 2024, you’ll always have a home at Vista,” added Payne. “Now let me echo my future best friend Matthew McConaughey, ‘Be confident and don’t create a hill to climb that isn’t there. Jump into life with both feet. Be less impressed and more involved. You hold the keys … now go drive the car.'”

Congratulations, VRHS Class of ‘24! You did it, and D49 is proud to celebrate with you.




Check out the complete album of photos on Facebook.

VRHS Graduation photo album

Amy Matisek