For local high school seniors, graduation represents a key turning point in their lives.
While it will signify the end of their high school careers, it is also the beginning of the rest of their lives.
Some students have higher education in mind, and others have goals to reconnect with family and take time to figure out where to go next.
In mid-April, a baker’s dozen of Maricopa’s graduating seniors gathered with photographer Victor Moreno at Ak-Chin Circle Entertainment Center for an InMaricopa photoshoot.
There were a couple of entertaining moments during the shoot.
The first came when Moreno requested all the graduates jump at the same time for a photo.
To get everybody in the frame, he had to back up a good distance. But that distance created an echo on his count of three to signal everyone to jump, so the timing was off.
Moreno subsequently had one of the students count to three, and everything synced up rather nicely.
Another entertaining moment came with discussion of the graduates tossing their caps in the air for a photo.
Moreno knew exactly what he was looking for and had exact instructions for the students on how — and where — to toss their caps.
It only took a few misfires before Moreno had the effect he wanted.
With 13 students at one shoot, it would be easy for anyone to mix up names, but not Moreno. His command of their names was impressive.
The graduates representing four high schools — Maricopa High School, Sequoia Pathway Academy, Heritage Academy and A+ Charter School — were in high spirits and looking forward to what life holds in store for them.
Caleb Weyrauch, a graduating senior at Heritage Academy, has international plans. He will spend the next two years in Africa — Benin to be exact, which sits to the west of Nigeria — as part of a two-year mission with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“I’m looking forward to moving out and being on my own,” Weyrauch said. “It’s exciting to be headed for a different part of the world and to have the opportunity to learn about different cultures.”
Joseph Russoniello and Haley Raffaele, coincidentally, will both work summer internships at Grand Lakes Lodge, near Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, before heading to Massachusetts to start their college careers.
Raffaele’s internship will focus on fashion marketing and Russoniello’s will be centered on hospitality management, which will be his major at Kilachand Honors College at Boston University. Raffaele will study theater at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Zoie Koons, of Heritage Academy, will move to Tulsa, Oklahoma to be closer to family.
“A lot of people don’t know much about Tulsa,” Koons said. “It’s a unique place. It’s a pretty decent-sized city but it has a small-town feel to it.”
Closer to home, Maricopa High School’s Matthew David looks forward to starting at Arizona State University, but first enjoying the upcoming summer.
“I’m looking forward to having three months off to spend with friends and family,” David said. “I can’t remember ever having that much time away from school.”
This story was first published in the May edition of InMaricopa magazine.