RPBHS To Celebrate Class Of 2024 On May 15 At The Fairgrounds

Principal Michelle Fleming along with the students, staff and families at Royal Palm Beach High School are preparing for the Class of 2024’s graduation ceremony at the South Florida Fairgrounds Expo Center on Wednesday, May 15 at 1 p.m. The ceremony will also be streamed live online by the School District of Palm Beach County.

“I’m just really proud,” Fleming said of the Class of 2024. “This is my third year here, and I’ve been their principal since they were sophomores. So, they are near and dear to me. It’s just a really exciting time planning for all their senior activities.”

At the time, Fleming was attending senior night at the baseball field. “The families and community are what make this such a fun place to be,” she said.

Leading the 584 graduates who will walk the stage next month will be valedictorian Ashley Weyer Liranzo. She has a final weighted GPA of 5.54 and is excited to attend the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College at Florida Atlantic University to major in biology while pursuing a pre-med track.

“My dream has always been to go into the medical field and help children who have a disease or are suffering from a medical condition similar to how doctors saved my brother,” Liranzo said.

Her brother was diagnosed with the rare chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) and went through a bone marrow transplant. During that time, she found herself struggling to stay motivated.

“So often, schoolwork and extracurricular activities felt like a chore,” Liranzo said. “Luckily, my brother’s transplant went perfectly. He no longer suffers from CGD, and we are all together and thriving.”

During her high school career, Liranzo published two books — a fantasy novel titled Tainted Fate and a poetry book called Love and Malice: Short Poetry Collection. She serves as the historian for the History National Honor Society, is a member of the Caribbean Honor Society and a founding member of BB4C, an organization that raises money to support cancer patients by making and selling bracelets.

“Not only that, I participated in the regional science fair, where I placed third in Environmental Sciences. I also received recognition and an award from Florida Atlantic University for my conservation research,” said Liranzo, whose third book, Blank Canvas, will hopefully be finished this summer. “I’m filled with enthusiasm, and I cannot wait to start this journey ahead of me.”

Her advice for her fellow RPBHS graduates and future students?

“Come in with a mindset that you will succeed, and it will happen,” she said. “The only thing that can limit a person’s success is their inability to believe in themselves. I doubted myself often, and it was one of my biggest mistakes ever. So, to my fellow graduates, you are more than enough, and I believe all of you are capable of completing your future endeavors.”

A friend of Liranzo’s will also be on stage as the salutatorian, Alexis C. Dunkley. A future fellow scientist and FAU owl, she plans to pursue a degree in biochemistry. Dunkley’s final weighted GPA was 5.44.

“I was in several extracurricular activities, like Teen Coalition in Action, Peace Jam and the Math Academic Games, but the main ones were the Caribbean club, Interact and the Math National Honor Society. They all gave me unique opportunities, like a job, which leads to my first advice of being involved because this can lead to new experiences,” she said.

Dunkley also participated in the science fair and the Pathfinders program.

“Both events were fun, stressful and interesting to me,” she said. “Pathfinders was especially special to me because it focused on a part of my life often overshadowed by academics: art. This leads to my second piece of advice, which is to not limit yourself. At the end of the day, it is better to try and not get anything than to not try anything at all.”

Dunkley admits that balancing academics and life is a challenge, and she is looking forward to taking some time this summer to just explore and visit cool places.

RPBHS has some serious girl power in this year’s class, with nine of the top 10 students being female.

“As I prepare my graduation speech, it just comes to mind the resiliency of the Class of 2024. These kids started their first year of high school during COVID-19, so they started high school remotely,” Fleming said. “Last year’s class earned more than $2 million in scholarships with all the AICE diplomas. This crew increased their AICE diploma rate by nearly 30 percent! That’s just more Bright Futures. And our IB graduates — they earned both an IB and an AICE diploma. They are really setting the bar.”

Fleming continued to express her overall pride for the students. Her future goal is a full 100 percent graduation rate between the ceremony in May and the summer graduation program that concludes in July.

“Our tag line is ‘We do things the Royal Way.’ We’ve got a crown on our Wildcat. It’s been a really nice culture boost for us. So, it has just been great to see,” Fleming said.

Tickets to the graduation ceremony are limited and the doors close to guests at 12:50 p.m. Attendees should make sure to have their tickets in hand when the doors open promptly at noon. All graduation ceremonies will be broadcast live on The Education Network (TEN) and streamed online.