Story, photos and video by Jo Mathis/AAPS District News
“At times there were days where we all thought we couldn’t do it anymore,” said Haley Eichstadt in her commencement address to her fellow graduates of the 2017 Class of Pathways to Success Academic Campus Monday night. “However, there was always that one teacher or that one friend who told us everything would be OK and that we could do it.”
Pease Auditorium was the setting for the commencement ceremony, which included inspirational talks and music, and a presentation of scholarships, awards, and diplomas.
Guest speaker Jay Marks, a diversity and equity consultant for Oakland Schools, noted that he was not always Dr. Jay Marks, but that he had been expelled from high school and turned his life around. He spoke about self-esteem, awareness, reliance and actualization, and said that God has already blessed them with everything they need to be successful.
Marks concluded his talk by asking the graduates, six of whom were students of Ann Arbor Adult Education, to stand and take a pledge to persevere and excel no matter what.
In applauding the graduates, AAPS Superintendent Jeanice Swift made special note of their academic achievements, basketball championship, internships at Zingerman’s, and service to others.
“It is clear to me and to all of us gathered here tonight that you have exactly what you need to find your place unique in all the world,” she said. “We are so proud of you today and proud of the places you will go and the place you will find.
“I’ll tell you what, Pathways graduates: We need you. The world needs you. We need you out there in your particular place, following your passion, showing your brilliance, your energy, your talent, your vision. No one else can fill the one place where the world has a gap shaped just like you. That open place is waiting for you even now. Waiting for your arrival.”