Chloe Bradford could barely contain her excitement as she prepared to graduate from Valley View High School.

Chloe Bradford could barely contain her excitement as she prepared to graduate from Valley View High School.

“I am so excited right now,” she said. “Valley View has been great for me. At first, I didn’t think I was going to be able to graduate. The teachers here let me know that graduating was something I could accomplish.”

Sixty-six graduates received diplomas Tuesday in the Valley View High School gymnasium. The senior class received more than $11,700 in college scholarships.

“This is truly a special opportunity to recognize our tremendous graduates,” said Tony Henderson, Valley View principal. “This is a chance for us to share this celebration and witness the conferring of diplomas.”

Becky Stanton, a Valley View mathematics teacher, spoke to the graduates as the 2010 Valley View/Hall McCarter Teacher of the Year. She described the class of 2010 as Play-Doh, totally unique, but individuals that can be molded and shaped through life.

“Learn and grow to become the person you desire to be,” she said. “Graduation was the goal, and you got here. Tomorrow is an opportunity to choose the next step in life. May your journey help you become who you want to be.”

Joel Chavez, Jayme Reese and Shelby Stephens were chosen as senior class speakers.

Chavez said he remembers walking into Valley View as a junior.

He said he had stopped caring about school, not attending classes and finally landing in the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center. His sophomore year, he  skipped almost an entire quarter of school and failed every class but one.

But the day he entered Valley View, Chavez said he knew things would be different.

“I began meeting new people and soon realized that this school was the place for me,” he said. “I am a young man who will succeed in life because of the personal characteristics of those around me that have molded me into the young man I am today.”

Reese came to Valley View as a freshman because she needed a different environment than the traditional high school. She said coming to school was “fun” because of her friends and especially because the teachers cared about her and the other students’ success.

“Our teachers have gotten to see us grow as a student body,” she said. “We are off to bigger and better things, but will always and forever be known as Valley View grads.”

Stephens said she thought she knew who she wanted to be four years ago, but she was wrong. She came to Valley View as a sophomore and admits she was not used to teachers who cared about her.

But it is her family, Stephens said, that has been my her side, supporting her every step of the way.

“My family is the biggest part that has helped me get through my senior year. I don’t know how to say thank you to that much love,” she said. “I feel like I am home with my family here at Valley View. The teachers here are my second family, and they try everything they can to help us gradate. I almost gave up, but they wouldn’t let me.”