The years of hard work by Grand Haven’s Central High School and Cyber School graduates were celebrated during the commencement ceremony at Lakeshore Middle School.
Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent Andrew Ingall encouraged the graduates to remember the support they’ve received over the years and to pay it forward.
Cyber School Director Kevin Berko told the graduates that adversity isn't what defines their lives, but instead it’s how they handle it. He said each graduate made the emotional decision to reach this milestone in their lives and their character brought them there.
Michigan Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Shawn Landon encouraged the graduates to plan for their futures — five or 10 years down the road — and set milestones toward those goals. Although they might stumble along the way, Landon told them that is when persistence comes into play. He said they will need to be resilient and pick themselves up occasionally, and go back to the drawing board when things don’t go as planned.
Landon also encouraged them to make bonds with their family, friends and teachers. He told them to ask for help and be helpful for others.
“Go after the things you want,” he said.
Looking ahead to the fall, 16-year-old Emma Chase said she plans to attend Grand Rapids Community College and later study to be a doctor.
Chase received the Outstanding Student Award at Wednesday’s commencement. In addition to the recognition, she received a scholarship established by Central High School staff.
Although slightly nervous about the next step in her life, Paige Aldred said she's excited. Aldred, who plans to become a medical assistant, said her future is possible because of the help that Central High School staff members who made a difference in her life.
"Thank you," she said to the Central teachers.
See the Tribune photo gallery for pictures from Wednesday’s ceremony.