By Andrew Cluley/AAPS District News, Video by Jo Mathis/AAPS District News
Making a difference for others was a common theme shared with Huron High School’s Class of 2017 at last night’s Commencement Ceremony. 283 new graduates received diplomas, with 62 members of the class finishing high school with a grade point average of 3.9 or higher.
The song “America the Beautiful,” particularly the line “And crown thy good with brotherhood,” was the focus of Social Studies teacher Sarah Roldan-Dodson’s Commencement Address. Roldan-Dodson shared with the graduates that while history is often depicted as the achievement of an individual, it’s a more complex, sometimes messy, but always collaborative process. She highlighted the contributions of Samoset and Massasoit the Native Americans who helped the Pilgrims survive, George Washington’s servant William Lee who was a slave until Washington’s death, and the untold number of people that fought to get women the right to vote.
The passion and perseverance Roldan-Dodson has seen in Huron’s Class of 2017 leaves her with no doubt they will do amazing things, but she wants to make sure they keep “America The Beautiful” in mind. “When you are out there you fight the good fight, you defend truth and integrity, protect dignity, put down that selfie stick and make new friends,” Dodson said, “Tell good stories, be curious and remember that you have the privilege of an Ann Arbor Public Schools education. You have the privilege of a Huron High School education and you should use that privilege every day for those who do not for their good and your good, with brotherhood and sisterhood everyday, because that’s what makes America beautiful.”
Principal Janet Schwamb offered a similar message through the story of a young man throwing starfish back into the water as the tide went out. Schwamb relayed, while he can’t save all of the starfish, he does make a tremendous difference for each individual one he saves. “You are prepared to go into a world, where you can find a path, fight with passion, follow your dreams, believe in and be true to yourself and others, be courageous, and above all find your starfish to make a difference,” she said.
Senior Lyna Ikharbine offered a class message focused on how the end of high school is like the end of a book in the series of works that make up each individual’s life. She highlighted the teamwork learned in school, the great friendships formed, and how teachers, families, and others helped get the Class of 2017 to graduation. She expects big things from her classmates. “This ceremony is a slingshot to the future,” Ikharbine said, “We, the Huron River Rats Class of 2017, will make significant impacts on the future. Future leaders sit right in front of me and I’m excited to see you all in future headlines.
As part of the ceremony six awards were presented to graduates:
- Paul K Meyers Award- Jadal Williams, Taimor Williams, & Hannah Schweitzer
- University of Michigan Citizenship Award- Laura Grosh & Mitchell Salley
- Martin Luther King Jr. Award- Ishmael Fasina & Isobel Holcomb
- Understanding and Sharing Diversity Award- Nikolas Barrientes & Breanna McSwain
- Charles Baird Humanitarian Award- Yuxin Jiang & Grace Kent
- Dr. Arthur L. Williams Integrity Award- Blake Preston & Nia Watkins