Students at Tyler ISD’s Early College High School were all smiles Thursday night as they watched one another walk the stage, earning both a high school diploma and an associate degree from Tyler Junior College.

The 2021 graduating class of Early College High is now the last school that Principal Delsenna Frazier will work for as she announced her retirement earlier this year. Following her announcement, Frazier was surprised with an appreciation award for her years of service and dedication to student success at Tyler ISD ECHS.

Graduation was moved inside to the Tyler High auditorium because of threats of rain, which didn’t stop the celebrations.

“We are so very proud of you and so should you,” said R. Wade Washmon, president of the Tyler ISD Board of Trustees.

“Bob Marley once said, ‘You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.’ You all have been strong this year. I hope you realize the strength that lies beneath you as you move forward. You’re loved by your neighbor and you’re loved by so many people here today and so many people maybe watching somewhere else,” Washmon said to the graduates in his address.

Washmon and the other trustees acknowledged the achievements of each student and recognized that each finished the requirements necessary to receive their high school diploma and associate degree.

After Elayna Taylor welcomed the graduating class and audience, Lizbeth Velez gave an invocation.

Frazier presented the graduates to Tyler ISD Superintendent Marty Crawford, who before the board of trustees, administrators, friends, guardians and guests, certified that each student completed the state requirements to qualify to receive their diplomas. Following the acknowledgment, Salutatorian Josue Martinez addressed his peers in his speech.

“Our friendships will not be severed easily, even if we do move to different countries. By the strange force known as gravity that pulls us, so do our friendships. In the next few minutes, this is when Saide (Bernal) and I will traditionally say goodbye to our public school system, I mean, friends, but I don’t think that would be fair for us. As my friend Frank would (say), this is not a goodbye, but rather, a long ‘catch you later’,” Martinez said.

He plans to attend Texas A&M University to major in aerospace engineering. Along with his high school diploma, Josue earned an associate degree from TJC with 62 hours of dual credit and he is a Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society member.

At ECHS, he was a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society, Rho Kapp Social Studies Honor Society, and English and Science honor societies.

Outside of school, Josue volunteers with East Texas Food Bank, Carter BloodCare and Junior Achievement.

Martinez made way for Valedictorian Saide Bernal to take the stage for her message.

“Teachers, you all not only provided us with guidance and encouragement, for that and so much more, thank you. We also owe this all to Mrs. Frazier. You have been the stirring voice of reason in our times of distress and the most encouraging person in our corner. You believed in us from the very beginning, when we doubted if we were even worthy of being accepted into this program. On behalf of all of your students here, we thank you for delaying your retirement long enough to be here with us here on the stage, and we hope that with the confidence and the tools you’ve given us to embark on each of our own expeditions, we make you proud,” Bernal said.

Bernal plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin to major in government. Along with her high school diploma, she earned an associate degree in sociology from TJC, where she is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

At ECHS, she was the community service coordinator for the National Honor Society, a peer assisted learning tutor and an Advancement Via Individual Determination student.

She volunteers with Junior Achievement, Toys for Tots, Park Place Nursing Home and other community organizations.

The 2021 Tyler ISD Early College High School graduates were:

Joslyn Acosta, Kyra Adams, Brisa Aguilar, Edgar Alcantara, Sugey Alvarado, Josue Amateco, Liliana Ambriz, Leslie Arriaga, Lawren Ayala, Danelly Barrera, Emily Barrera, Saide Bernal, Lorena Borja, Mason Brodeur, Liam Broome, Natalia Calderon, Eunises Campos, Kevin Castillo, Ximena Castillo, Mishell Cervantes-Lopez, Melani Diaz, Damaris Duran, Martin Espiricueta, Emily Flores, Cecilia Flores, Isabeal Fraire, Lizbeth Gaona, Steven Garza Gonzalez, Adriana Gonzalez, Mercedez Arianna Hall, Sandy Arlene Hernandez, Daisy Miriam Hernandez, Cindy Marlene Hernandez, Jakob M. Hoisington, Bergen Kingery, Jasmine Kong, Nathan Lampin, Mar’Sean J. Lane, Alex Lopez, Jr., Brianna Lujan, Lizbeth Mancilla, Christian Martinez, Josue Martinez, Hailey Martinez, Frank Martinez-Flores, Conner L. Mayfield, Kaiya Rene McAfee, Brissa Marlene Mercado, Jennifer Mireles Ortiz, Britney Nicole Morales, Dinis Leslie Moreno, Vivian Moreno Valdez, Jazmine Morrison, Elizabeth G. Murillo, Anayeli Ocampo, Kayla Itzel Ortega, Leyla Janet Perez, Maritza Izabela Pineda, Cecilia Pulido, Jimena E. Ramirez, Krystina E. Randall, Ruth Sarahi Rodriguez, Mireya Romero, Wendy Salazar, Juleimy Saucedo, Melissa Serna, Devoddrick Deshard Smith, Seily Aileen Solis, Elayna Simone Taylor, Victor Manuel Trujillo Jr., Verenince Vallejo Martinez, Noe J. Vazquez, Estefanie Y. Velazquez-Valle, Lizbeth Velez Yanez, Yareli Vergara, Ja’Taveon Walton, Alejandro Wilson, Deonna N. Wright, Diana Zapata and Christian Oden Zuniga.

Bilingual Multimedia Journalist

I cover COVID-19 and health in the East Texas area for Tyler Morning Telegraph, the Longview News-Journal and Tyler Paper Español. Stephen F. Austin State University alumna. For story ideas, email me at

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