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SUMMER SCHOOL GRADUATES REWARDED FOR HARD WORK
The drive and perseverance of scholars from the District’s five high schools were celebrated Thursday as District 60 Summer School culminated with the awarding of diplomas and the unveiling of a future filled with promise and hope.
The commencement ceremony at Paragon Learning Center was hosted by Rich Mestas, the principal of Dutch Clark Digital at Paragon who also served as principal of Summer School.
Principal Mestas was joined by Summer School educators and District representatives in celebrating the accomplishments of the Class of 2022. Family, friends and loved ones of the graduates were equally eager to revel in the joy of the momentous occasion.
Following the entrance to the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance,” Class of 2022 member Destiny Padilla-Baxter delivered the national anthem.
“Over the past few years, we have experienced a great transition in our lives,” Principal Mestas offered to the gallery. “Unprecedented times have allowed us to come together and be creative in how we learn. Our graduates sitting here today have shown great resilience and flexibility over the course of their high school experience.
“Your commitment to graduation will enhance your lives and the lives of everyone in our community. We are confident that you possess the skills necessary to live a life of purpose and impact: in and around our wonderful community.
“As a result of this accomplishment, we expect you to go and do amazing things.”
As keynote speaker, Brad Gerler, Online Teacher on Special Assignment, reminded the Class of 2022 that while a high school diploma is the key that can open many doors in life, it is merely a representation of all that preceded it.
“It’s just a piece of paper,” Mr. Gerler began. “The thing of value, and what we’re here to celebrate tonight, isn’t going to be handed to you in a fancy folder. You walked into this room today already in possession of what matters. The knowledge, skills and personal character that you have learned and displayed in order to earn the diploma are far more valuable than any piece of paper ever could be.
“Those attributes are going to be what open doors for you. The work ethic, determination and grace that got you that diploma is what you will carry with you for the rest of your lives.”
The graduates were accepted by Board of Education Vice President Tommy Farrell, with Mr. Gerler leading the tassel change following the conferring of diplomas by Assistant Superintendent Eric DeCesaro.
Diplomas in hand, the Class of 2022 made its way across the front of the hall, congratulated by the District and Board dignitaries on hand for the milestone occasion.
The evening concluded with a reception that allowed graduates and their families to further celebrate the moment and visit with the Summer School staff who guided them to their latest achievement.
In all, nearly 1,000 District students attended Summer School 2022 at Paragon Learning Center.
DISTRICT 60 SUMMER SCHOOL CLASS OF 2022
Samuel Andrew Alcaraz
Indigo Gray Dilka
William Asher Dillard
Cali Nykol Finn
Mia Ann Garcia
Kadyn Blair Betts (early graduate)
Destiny Carla Padilla Baxter
Anthony Charles Rodell
Preston James Anthony Smith
Alejandro Daniel Padilla Retana
Isiah Timothy Pacheco
Alonzo Rey Perez
Emma Sonora Annabel Parker
Matthew Richard Sheldon
PARAGON/DUTCH CLARK DIGITAL
Angelena Marie Arellano
Ava Ann Crispi
Ariana Dakota Espinoza
Marissa Jalen Garcia
Jayda Lynn Gonzales
Aaron Lee Kingston
Angelo Orian Medina
Serrina Leah Rose Mari Rael
Donivan Xavier Coletti Rothmeier
Helena Lorain Gius
Alexis Jane Jimenez
Nolan Braxton Trujillo