LUBBOCK, Texas – As the end of the academic year draws near, asked a diverse group of local high school graduates to share their ambitions and paths they plan to pursue after receiving their diplomas.

While some graduates will pursue higher education, others are budding entrepreneurs, are aspiring to be agents of change in their community or are opting for a gap year to gain valuable life experience.

Jocelynn Barenas is a Plainview High School senior pursuing a career in culinary arts. “I’ve completed all 4 years of Culinary Arts in high school, and I feel that this has more than prepared me to reach my goal of becoming a Chef,” Barenas expressed.

Jocelynn Barenas (image courtesy of Pamela Barenas).

Barenas said her mentor/role model was Mrs. Scarborough, her culinary teacher who she said always made class fun and taught her many things. But what sparked her love for cooking was her mom, dad and grandparents “always cooking amazing meals for me growing up…”

Ralls High School senior Sarai Morales will work towards becoming a music teacher. She explained that music is big within her family, and she only liked singing with them.

Sarai Morales (image courtesy of Sarai Morales).

“I think the person who most inspired me to go down the career path is probably my Band Director,” Morales said. “He has given me the most life experiences in just the way he tries to take care of every single one of us in his band…”

Morales is a jack of many trades as she said her hobbies are cooking, baking and photography.

Dominic Cantu plans to be a Diesel Mechanic for the Marine Corps. He said this will make him the second marine in his family.

Dominic Cantu (image courtesy of Angelica Cantu).

Cantu said he didn’t want to join at first but his mother who he said was his mentor, helped him make the decision. “I want to challenge myself,” Cantu said.

One of Cantu’s hobbies was playing trumpet, he said.

Senior Kaley Cavazos from Wellman-Union High School will pursue a real estate license and then double-major in Communications and Marketing. Cavazos said she chose the path because it will allow, “for me to meet all types of people and my success will be based upon the effort that I put in.”

Kaley Cavazos (image courtesy of Courtney Cavazos).

Her inspiration is her father who has been in auto sales for eight years. “I have seen the drive that he has to better himself and our family,” Cavazos said.

According to Cavazos, her hobbies included reading and writing.

Tierra Bustillos, a senior at Triumph Public High School said she knew from a very young age that cosmetology was what she wanted to do.

Tierra Bustillos (image courtesy of Roxanne Bustillos).

“…Ever since I was a little girl I always loved doing hair and makeup,” Bustillos said. “The people who inspired me the most was my Tia Tiffani Martinez, my Tia Veronica Norma Rivera-Panno and also my great-grandma Barbara Elaine Vara.”

These high school graduates from Lubbock and the South Plains region have diverse aspirations and plans for their post-graduation journey reflecting their dedication, inspiration from mentors and passions that will shape their futures.

Congratulations to all 2023 graduates!