Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Hornet Academy holds June graduation


AZLE — Officer Raymon Cannon has 26 years of experience in law enforcement; he holds a master peace officer’s certification, is the training coordinator for the Parker County Regional SWAT Crisis Negotiations Unit and is regional vice president for the Texas Association of Hostage Negotiators.

But until Monday night, Cannon was not a high school graduate.

Since 2008, Azle ISD has allowed individuals without a high school diploma a second chance at graduation. Hornet Academy is a self-paced online alternative to high school. Unlike a General Educational Development program, graduates from Hornet Academy get to walk the Azle High School auditorium stage after earning a bona fide high school diploma. As of the most recent ceremony, the program has graduated more than 800 students in biannual ceremonies.

Hornet Academy and Disciplinary Alternative Education Program Principal Chris Hill was one of many to address students at a recent June 17 ceremony. This year, a place of honor was reserved for a special Hornet Academy graduate to address his peers.

Cannon joined Azle ISD as a student resource officer and teacher of a police interaction class at the DAEP campus at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year. During a speech in front of the Hornet Academy grads, he spoke about what it means to set an example for his sons, his students and especially his young granddaughter.

“After attending the last Hornet Academy graduation, which I think was our largest group to date, I couldn’t help but be inspired by the adults who had made the effort to come back and complete their high school experience and earn their diploma … I thought to myself that’s got to be tough … It’s harder to go back and correct life’s missteps and the longer you wait the harder it seems to be.”

Cannon described how in his senior year of high school in 1986, he got too distracted by a girl to take his schoolwork seriously and he found himself two credits shy of graduating with his friends. Cannon would instead join the army and get his GED. Despite an amazing family and a job he loved, he said there was always an itch he could not scratch until now. On a program listing the ceremony’s graduates, Cannon pointed out his own name third down on the left.

“That’s my name and that’s the name of an Azle Hornet Academy graduate,” Cannon said. “It’s never too late to accomplish something and it’s never too late to start something.”

Cannon concluded by encouraging his peers to be a part of the best of humanity and expressing his pride in their shared accomplishment and hard work. Following Cannon, over three dozen other graduates walked across the stage to shake hands with Azle ISD Superintendent Todd Smith and receive their diplomas.

June 2024 Hornet Academy graduates

  • Ericka Bills
  • Caiden Boyd
  • Raymon Cannon
  • Ian Catano
  • Tristan Checa Angulo
  • Carter Cherry
  • Jonah Collins
  • Dane Crews
  • Crowley James
  • Douglas Foster Jr.
  • Cadlie Gaskey
  • Journey Guerrero
  • Trinity Hart-Rhoads
  • John Hatley Jr
  • Kendylle Horton
  • Jacob Ibanez
  • Danielle Jama
  • Kelcey Killinger
  • Braden Langston
  • Kenneth Light
  • Ethan Main
  • Nickolas McElhannon
  • Hannah Moore
  • Chloe Morrow
  • Evian Nava
  • Abraham Nevarez
  • Christina Nichols
  • Emma Oden
  • Daniel Ortiz
  • Faith Palmer
  • Luis Rivera
  • Saul Rodriguez Jr.
  • Jessica Ryan
  • Rachel Ryerson
  • Danielle Shettlesworth
  • Felicia Smith
  • Brookln Spencer
  • Ethan Straw
  • Marisol Torres
  • Kynnedy West
  • Carol Wills
  • Nathaniel Wright
  • Gavin Young