Monday, May 11, 2015

Graduation at last!

As I reflect over the first two years of the SAU Tech Honors Program, I feel such mixed emotions. The first group of Honors Scholars graduated on May 7, 2015.  In some ways, it feels like it has a been a marathon, and in others, it feels like a sprint.    This journey feels like a sprint because it seems I just met these students at SOAR during summer 2013. They quickly became part of my family.

The marathon has been exhausting at times for both the students and myself.  I have walked this journey with them as they have experienced both successes and struggles.  This group of students has had so much happen in their lives outside of the classroom (relationship issues, babies born and babies lost, moving to new homes, financial struggles, jobs, marriages, losses of loved ones, and more).  And in spite of all that has happened in life, they have overcome. As they walked across the stage at graduation, I was so humbled to think of how they have impacted my life over this 2 years.

Jessica Flannigan has represented SAU Tech well as the Academic All-Star for this year and as a Student Ambassador for SAU Tech.  
Jessica Flannigan

Ms. Johnnie Sue Hall and Taylor Watkins
Taylor Watkins is truly a success story for students taking concurrent credits during high school.  She has finished her associate's degree in ONE year after high school!

Jenny Sanders (Honors Sponsor) and Taylor Watkins

Keyonte Akis-Davis is always the life of the party.  That smile never seems to fade.  During his time as a student in the Honors Program, Keyonte tore his ACL.  And during his recovery, he was STILL smiling. I wish the rest of the world was as kind and smiling at Keyonte!

Tiffany Jamerson and Keyonte Akis-Davis
I had the privilege of presenting Tiffany with her Technical Certificate.
Tiffany Jamerson has demonstrated the true meaning of "overcomer" over the last 2 years. In spite of being in foster care off and on throughout her life, she has persevered and worked toward her degree.  Nothing will stop this young lady from reaching her goals!

NaCenya Hogan
 NaCenya Hogan has reached the first of many goals by finishing her associate's degree. The day of graduation, she posted the following on Facebook:  "First degree... Many more to come..."  

 Jessica Crumpler has shown what true determination and commitment looks like.  She has managed to raise an energetic little boy, maintained a household, worked a lot, and finished her first college degree with excellent grades.  Despite lots of sleepless nights, she has kept going!

And, of course, what kind of celebration could we have without food!  So, we met up at What's Cookin' in Camden the night after graduation.  Family and friends were welcome for a time of fellowship, reminiscing, and fun.

We love it when the youngest members of the Honors Program join us for fun!

We all need a little support from our family and friends, so this celebration was about the parents, spouses, kids, and significant others who have supported these students over the last few years.

Classic facial expressions from a few

 We had to get one last group picture before everyone goes their separate ways this summer!

These students have paved the way for those coming behind them.  While graduation is bittersweet because I'm not ready for them to move on, I am so excited to see where this group will go and what they will accomplish.  Since this group is small, we have formed lasting friendships that are more like being a part of a family.  I feel blessed to be the group "Momma!"  I could not be more proud of them!

Honors Scholars:  My challenge to you is:
1.  To never "finish" learning.  Always strive to learn something new each day, whether in the classroom, on the job, in the home, or out in the world.
2.  Continue to make this world a better place.  You see, the future is yours and is in your hands.
3.  Remember where you came from and what you have overcome.  But, do more than remember.  Use that to propel you to greatness!

No comments:

Post a Comment