Willamette Academy celebrated the graduation of its 13th cohort May 24, 2019, in Hudson Hall.
Families, alumni, staff and friends gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of 28 graduates. Of these students, 16 will attend Willamette University in the fall. Other graduates are headed to Western Oregon University, Chemeketa Community College, Seattle Pacific University, Biola University, Coe College, Pacific University, American University and Harvard University.
The graduates selected Melina Montiel Gomez to be their class speaker. Montiel Gomez is graduating from South Salem High School and will attend the University of Oregon.
Avi Hernandez, ’10 academy graduate and teacher at Linus Pauling Middle School in Corvallis, gave the alumni address. Reyna Lopez ’09, winner of Willamette’s 2017 Young Alumni Leadership Award, delivered the keynote address. Lopez is executive director of Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noreste.
During the 2018–19 academic year, Willamette University students volunteered more than 575 hours, and the academy’s student staff worked more than 3,000 hours in support of academy students.
In his closing remarks, Emilio Solano, the academy’s executive director, challenged the graduates to build upon what they’d learned from their mentors and teachers: “Pay it forward with your time, your energy, your passions. Find the ways in which you can create impact and push others to see their abilities, their potential and their capacity for more than they may even believe possible.”