It’s always inspiring to watch our young people graduate and we have graduated over 1000 graduates in recent days. I ended the past week with the last of 5 graduation ceremonies. Most people know little about our shared regional services provider for special needs learners but a week ago I began graduations with a ceremony honoring 2 graduates at the Ivy Creek School. From that small but important gathering, I was privileged to watch our three comprehensive high schools – Albemarle, Monticello, and Western Albemarle – graduate their seniors. Murray High, our small public charter, graduated 24 honored seniors. My takeaway? Every child counts and all means all when it comes to our educators’ work. When I spoke with teachers, parents, and principals across every school they described this graduating class of millennials: leaders, doers, community-service minded, close-knit, almost like family. Educators also had this to say about the classes of 2016:
“I’m going to miss them terribly. They’ve made me a better teacher, coach, and man.”
“These students inspired me to be a better human being. They have worked hard. Some will be the first in their families to graduate from high school. Others will be the first to go to college. They are first class in every way.”
“This class in terms of leadership is as good as it gets. They are socially conscious with a real sense of goals, short and long-term. They have phenomenal energy.”
“They are creative, kindhearted, with a great sense of humor.”
Our young people will serve their communities, state, and nation well because of all the adults – parents, teachers, mentors, and family – who have helped guide them to adulthood.
They will go to college, the military, work, or gap years in their next phase of life. I am so proud of the thousands and thousands of community volunteer and service hours they’ve provided to organizations and individuals in need of support. They’ve been accepted to colleges all over the US and the globe, including the most highly competitive public and privates in the US. They are leaders, doers, and dreamers – all of which we need as a nation, state and community.