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CLASS OF 2024: Buena High School graduates nearly 400 students

Posted at 8:11 PM, May 23, 2024

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (KGUN) — Many seniors in Cochise County turned their tassel, signaling the end of their high school careers. Buena High School, the county's largest high school, graduated nearly 400 students on Thursday night.

For many of these graduates this is their first graduation ceremony, since they entered high school during the pandemic, and had a drive thru promotion ceremony at the end of eighth grade.

Valedictorian, Kevin Tran, and Salutatorian, Ryan Wilde, said this ceremony is special for may reasons. Tran is following his sisters footsteps, being the top of his class and Wilde gets to be the salutatorian while his close friend is valedictorian.

“Kevin always tried to keep his GPA very secretive but I knew he was number one," Wilde said with a smile. "I knew how hard he worked in school and I know that this is a really big deal to him.”

Tran and Wilde have known each other for as long as they can remember. When talking with KGUN, they were more excited about the other person’s accomplishments than their own, but agreed they’re proud to be the top of their class.

“I was thinking that he was salutatorian and I was valedictorian then I was really fortunate because he for me is one of the smartest people I know. I felt that if anyone else could have been valedictorian it could have been him.”

Buena principal, Nicole Young, says this class took advantage of the opportunities high school has to offer, because they started during a time where things were different and gatherings couldn’t happen.

“I think the thing I love about this class is, they love to cheer each other on," she said. "They're competitive but in a good way. They push each other to be better (and) they're always willing to help out their friends."

Tran told his classmates to continue to work hard and take advantage of opportunities so they continue to succeed in life, because he wants them to all do well. Wilde's speech also encouraged his class mates to continue to work hard, no matter the path they take in life.

Young says this class has what takes to make difference in this world.

"This class is really special," she said. "They have really good caring hearts and, and they're good humans that are gonna go on to make the world a better place.”

Young says the Class of 2024 earned $5 million worth of scholarships and most are furthering their education in college, trade schools and the military.

Alexis Ramanjulu is a reporter in Cochise County for KGUN 9. She began her journalism career reporting for the Herald/Review in Sierra Vista, which she also calls home. Share your story ideas with Alexis by emailing or by connecting on Facebook.