Graduation elicits a broad swath of emotions from the thrills of reaching the end of high school to the pride of a job well done to the sadness of leaving friends, families and classmates behind to go to the next step of college, career and life.
For me, the graduation of Atlanta Public Schools’ Class of 2015 marked my first with the District and brought forth in me all of those emotions.
I can hardly express the thrill of attending all of the graduations and generating great memories that I will always cherish.
- The chance to lead enthusiastic school cheers at Mays, Jackson and Grady
- The stirring musical performances from North Atlanta, Douglass and Therrell
- Heartfelt speeches about perseverance, grit and determination from students at Carver, South Atlanta and Crim high schools
- The joint ceremony with B.E.S.T. and Coretta Scott King academies where nearly every graduate on stage had been accepted to college
- The 90-year legacy and sense of family and community at Washington
- Sharing my first APS graduation with the first-ever graduating class from KIPP Collegiate Atlanta.
And finally a sense of sadness, because I, too, will miss all of the students of my first graduating class as APS superintendent.
For the families, friends, teachers, staff and community members who did not get a chance to join any of the fantastic APS graduation ceremonies last week, I invite you to visit livestream.com/k12aps to view them and experience some of the excitement for yourself. Go to Twitter and search for #APS2015 or your school’s hashtag and see running accounts, photos and videos of every graduating class.
You can also visit our TalkUp Blog, which featured numerous students across the District including all of our valedictorians, salutatorians and STAR students and many of our Posse, Gates and Georgia Scholars as well as other champion athletes and students.
Needless to say, we are super proud of our students.
And we know that they will continue to make us proud, because they know it doesn’t end with graduation. As I told them at graduation, the word “commencement” literally means “beginning.”
And while they experience a fresh beginning, it’s not a hard, new start. They have all of the lessons, experiences and friendships they developed at APS with them and the support of family, teachers and the community.
We wish them all the best of luck. We are definitely proud of them, and we will miss them.