Last week I had the honor of speaking at two K12-partner school high school graduation ceremonies: Insight Academy of Arizona (ISAZ) on Wednesday, May 27 and Arizona Virtual Academy (AZVA) on Thursday, May 28.
Both ceremonies were filled will families from across the state of Arizona and represented a significant accomplishment of each school’s senior classes.
ISAZ celebrated the graduation of more than 100 students. These students came to ISAZ because they had struggled in brick and mortar schools. ISAZ is a school specifically targeted for those struggling academically. This graduation is recognition that these students can succeed and flourish in a virtual learning environment. Graduates are headed to colleges such as Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University, Arizona Western College, and Rio Salado College.
During my speech to the 2015 graduating class I spoke of how the important goals in life are only achieved with determination, courage, hard work, collaboration, and a clear understanding of what success looks like. I shared ISAZ student stories from Fernanda Castillo, a dedicated mother of a two-year old daughter as well as a high school student, who graduated earlier in April, as well as, Brandyn Barton, who took advantage of the flexibility of ISAZ to complete all graduation requirements while officially still in the 11th grade.
On the next night, I had the privilege of speaking to the 2015 graduating class at AZVA. Again, more than 100 graduates walked the stage; many headed to colleges such as University of Arizona, The Julliard School, and Brigham Young University to name a few.
I challenged the graduating class to continue do what is right – to stay the course with your principles and values, and to be the kind of person they know they can and should become. I emphasized that how doing the right thing led graduates to this monumental day. From completing assignments, studying, to passing all required courses to earn a diploma.
I highlighted two students in the AZVA graduating class, who did what was right. Tye Waggoner transferred from a brick-and-mortar school to AZVA despite family recommendations against her decision. Tye set a goal of attaining all A’s through putting countless hours into school work and finding her own path through online learning. Another example is Yannick Schreiber, who realized early on that he would be unprepared for college if he attended his local high school. Yannick joined AZVA because he felt like it was the right fit for him and the right thing to do for his future.
I concluded my speech with the following remarks:
All this work that you have completed prepares you for your future. But there is still work ahead for sure. Whether you continue in school or begin a career, or focus on raising a family, learning will be a part of your life forever.
Congratulations to the class of 2015!