A2 Tech, Adult Ed. graduation celebrate second chances

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By Tara Cavanaugh

When Brittany Daniel stepped up to the podium to give her speech, she could not hold back her tears.

Daniel was a student speaker at the Class of 2013 commencement ceremony June 3 for A2 Technical High School and the AAPS Adult Education Program. The ceremony, held at Eastern Michigan University in the Student Center Ballroom, showed the importance of second chances.

“Most of us came here because we knew we needed to make a change in our lives,” Daniel said.

“We were launched into life–– real life–– much earlier than other students. Some of us lived with both parents or one. Some of us lived by ourselves. Some of us are even raising kids of our own.

“(A2 Tech) is a place for second chances and new beginnings.”

Daniel was awarded the Principal’s Distinguished Honor Award from A2 Tech Principal Tyrone Weeks.

Weeks said Daniel had a tireless work ethic, whether she was volunteering in the cafeteria, working in the school store or fundraising. “This student has shown that the commitment to excellence is a daily journey that starts with a single step.”

Daniel was not the only student honored with an award Monday evening. Daniel joined ten other students who received a S.T.R.I.V.E. scholarship to Washtenaw Community College from the Ann Arbor Rotary Club.

Adult Education graduates were also commended for overcoming obstacles and earning their GEDs.

“You didn’t let anything stop you, including age or incarceration,” said Adult Ed. Director Sharman Spieser. The program, which was recognized this winter by the state for its success, provides GED classes in a variety of locations in Ann Arbor, including the Washtenaw County Jail several times a week.

Guest speaker Dawud Mohammad congratulated students on their success and reminded them to keep focused on the future.

“Now graduates, whatever you went through to get to where you are today, there’s a room full of people behind you.” An audience member loudly sounded a kazoo.  “That’s one of them!” Mohammad laughed.

“They’re here because they see your value. and sometimes when we don’t see our own value we don’t get the kind of support we think we should have.

“When you see your own value, others start to take another look and see your value as well.

“So go ahead. Embrace the moment. Find a way to feed your mind every day. Understand that you’ve gradually reached this point but there’s more to go.”

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