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Photos, story, and video by Andrew Cluley
Throughout this school year, Pathways Interim Principal Shaenu Micou has been lifting up Pathways students telling them they are the future. The future is now, as 44 graduates from the class of 2018 at Pathways to Success Academic Campus and Ann Arbor Public Schools Adult Education program were celebrated last night at Commencement. Micou says the Pathways’ staff has been behind the students all the way leading up to this important milestone. “We’re just trying to create a clear, and safe, and wide enough runway for you to take off, our staff, they’ve done that,” Micou says. “I often remind our students, and I will again today at your graduation ceremony, that you’re great. You’re already great, you just have to believe it and you have to continue to walk in it. And as you didn’t let anything keep you from getting this diploma, don’t let anything keep you from walking in your greatness.”
Speaking on behalf of all of the adult education program graduates and people with disabilities, Ricky Sylvertooth shares a similar message of endless possibilities. He says, “If you have a dream follow it, I did it and everybody else can too. With the grace of God, anything is possible.”
Of course success rarely comes as a solitary activity. Board of Education President Christine Stead encourages the graduates to continue to rely on their “home team.” She says these are the people that helped with a meal, offered encouragement during difficult times, and pushed them to school on days they would rather stay home. Stead says this support base is the secret weapon to success. “Used well your secret weapon will help you learn the lesson that at difficult times they are there too,” she says. “Your home team will help you move forward a little smarter, a little faster, a little more confident, and a little closer to achieving your goals. Take us with you on your journey, keep us close, and keep growing your home team advantage.”
For Pathways graduate Tiana Corrao that home team always has started with her single mother. Corrao shares she’s proud her accomplishments so far, but has much more to do. “Seeing myself grow into the woman my mother raised me to be, and most of all I’m proud of overcoming every difficult situation that I had this year, and there were some toxic ones,” Corrao says. “I still kept going because of my ambition, motivation, independence, and having unconditional love for my loved ones. I’m ready to take my next step on my journey, class of 2018 it’s our turn.”
In accepting the Pathways and Adult Education class of 2018, Superintendent Jeanice Swift highlighted that the skills they have demonstrated so far, are what the graduates will need as they move forward in their journey. “The very same perseverance that brought you to tonight, the very same determination that got you here, will carry you forward out into the world to serve your role so well,” she says.
In addition to awarding diplomas, members of the class of 2018 that are receiving scholarships and awards were recognized. This included the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor’s continued support of the STRIVE program, scholarships from the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor, and a scholarship from Zingerman’s. The scholarship winners were:
- Stephen Adams
- Sy’Reon Aiken
- Noah Bond
- Antonio Brann,
- Adriana Brenen
- Desire’ Brown
- Tiana Corrao
- Von Cratic
- Zachary Donnellon
- Roniece Gray
- Alexis Harrison
- Joseph Iannelli
- Yunique Moss
- Xaiver Patton
- Mahogany Richmond
Additionally Alexis Harrison received the Principal’s Distinguished Honors award.