On Tuesday, May 21, the Canyon del Oro senior class of 2019 tossed their caps into the air, celebrating their graduation. The evening included speeches from CDO 2019 valedictorian Joe Liang, salutatorian Rebecca Shanks, senior class elected speaker Emily Cohen and senior class president James Leader.
“I was just aiming for good grades, I never expected to be valedictorian,” Liang said, who found out he was valedictorian over Spring Break. “Over the four years, I changed much more than I thought I would. When I entered freshman year, I was really shy. But I joined [International Baccalaureate] classes, and that really helped me.”
Liang, a first generation American, will attend University of Arizona in the fall, and plans on majoring in mechanical engineering and business.
“You don’t realize how much you’ve been through until it’s gone,” Liang said from the podium at graduation. “I’m grateful to be able to have gone through this with all of you, but this isn’t my success alone.”
Out of the Canyon del Oro graduating class of 357 students, 84 percent are continuing their education after high school. This includes the students attending 121 different colleges, universities, vocational schools and military roles. According to CDO Principal Tara Bulleigh, the graduating CDO students amassed over $1 million in grants and scholarships to continue their education.
“Everyone’s just really happy, obviously,” Liang said. “The parents are proud, and even the students are proud.”