13 diplomas also issued to graduates of Ann Arbor Adult Education
By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor
Pathways to Success Academic Campus awarded diplomas to 37 graduates of the Class of 2022 Monday night at Pease Auditorium on the campus of Eastern Michigan University. In addition, the ceremony honored the 13 graduates of Ann Arbor Adult Education.
“This is your time, Class of 2022,” Dean Shaenu Micou told students and families gathered for the ceremony May 31. “This is your chance to do and be everything you were born to be.”
“Who are you?” he continued. “You are the leaders of today and tomorrow. You are the future. What do you want? Success! Nobody has proven more through every mountain and every valley than you have consistently and painstakingly persevered for this victorious providence today and in the future.”
Several students spoke to the crowd, explaining what Pathways has meant to them.
Graduate Katie Atkins told the crowd what Pathways has meant to her. She had her parents and older sibling all graduated from Community High School, and she had expected to do the same.
But after a year, she realized Community wasn’t right for her; that when had lost motivation and saw her grades decline before and especially during the pandemic.
During her junior year, she was told she should transfer to Pathways if she wanted to b part of the Class of 2022.
At Pathways last year, she was counseled in how to succeed via Zoom, and began to succeed again, which motized her.
“When I finally came to the building this past fall, there were a bunch of teachers and staff welcoming students by the front door,” she recalled.
She said after she asked teacher Josh Skodack for help, he stopped what he was doing to help her feel appreciated and cared for on her first day. Katie went on to praise Counselor Marissa Bailey-Johnson, English teacher Kristal Jaaskelainen, and cafeteria worker Miss Anita, who bolstered her mental health by making sure she was eating regularly. She wet on to praise several other teachers who supported her in a variety of ways.
“Pathways was a game-changer,” she said. “As my grades improved, the counselor at Community said I could come back and graduate with them but as I got closer to the end of this year, I thought, `No, I want to graduate from Pathways because this school has changed my life.”
She said Pathways helped her learn to communicate better with her parents and others.
“I’m prepared for the real world,” she said, “and real things I will face in my future.”
This year, more than $34,000 were awarded to Pathways to Success seniors.
“Whether you are obtaining your high school diploma or GED, it is truly an accomplishment,” said Pathways Counselor LaRae Brannon. “This milestone can lead to many more opportunities. Many of our students go on to attend Washtenaw Community College. We have a wonderful partnership with the Ann Arbor Rotary club, Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation and the STRIVE program.”
Scholarship recipients have been chosen based on their academic performance, along with their personal stories shared through an application process, she explained.
The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation Community Scholarship awards up to $20,000 per recipient and includes a college success coach and an opportunity for further aid. The winner was Makayla Marie Frazier.
The Morse B. Barker Memorial Scholarship Fund awards $3,600 to selected AAPS graduating seniors who plan to attend Washtenaw Community College or Cleary University. This year’s recipients are Katie Atkins, Joseph Danyel Coward, and Aidan Jones.
In addition to the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation scholarships, Lauren Wunkel received a separate scholarship under the sponsorship of Ann Arbor Public Schools. Lauren received $4000 from ABM Services scholarship and plans to attend Eastern Michigan University in the fall.
Three awards recognized students’ achievements.
Those who earned the highest GPA, between a 3.5 and 4.0 received the Distinguished Dean’s Award: Enkidu Anthony; Katie Atkins; Joseph Coward; Cameron Harris; Aidan Jones; Cody Ross; Lauren Wunkel; and Amani Word.
The outstanding assistant dean’s award recognizes students who earned between a 3.0 and 3.5 GPA. It was awarded to the following students: Makayla Frazier; Randy Keyes; Anthony Pinnace; Helena Popiolek; and Richard Roach.
The counselor’s recognition award recognizes students who earned between a 2.5 and 3.0 GPA. It was awarded to Beddr Al-Mohdar; Yannik Berg; Andreah Bess; Eddie Boyd; Brandon Johnson; Brandon Taylor; and Tamar Young.
You can watch the complete CTN Broadcast of the Commencement Ceremony here.