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For California Virtual Academy (CAVA)‘s Courtney Wells, a life with a few “oh wells” is better than one full of “what ifs”.  

As Courtney stood on the graduation stage and delivered her valedictorian address, her message to her classmates was to not fear failure as they take on whatever is next for them. “Even when there are people telling you that you’ll fail at something, because what you want to do is different…do it anyway. Don’t be afraid to fail, because without failure, we’d never know how amazing success feels when we finally achieve it.” 

Following graduation, Courtney will take classes at Victor Valley Community College, with the goal of transferring to a four-year institution and pursuing a career in writing or publishing.  

“This next chapter is full of blank pages that we get to fill as we write our own story,” Courtney reminded her classmates. “And your story is nobody else’s but your own. You get to decide what risks you take, what paths you travel, and what dreams you want to make a reality.” 

Watch Courtney’s full valedictorian address from CAVA’s 2017 commencement. Congratulations Courtney, and the entire class of ’17! 

About The Author

Emily Riordan

Emily Riordan joined Stride as Senior Manager, Corporate Communications in July 2017. Prior to joining the team, Emily was a founding staff member at the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools, working with school stakeholders across the country to advocate for healthy, safe and sustainable schools. Emily has also worked with the District of Columbia charter school movement, assisting with charter applications, development and advocacy efforts. Originally from a small town in Massachusetts, Emily has lived in the DC area for half her life, having earned her bachelor’s degree in English at the George Washington University in 2004.

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