Skyline High School’s 11th graduating class of 309 students received their diplomas at last night’s Commencement Ceremony at Eastern Michigan University’s George Gervin GameAbove Center.
Vivian Li gave the student address. Even though she claimed to have no qualifiable advice, she highlighted the challenges her class faced through high school, the ability of her classmates to keep going, the need to be willing to fail, and that ultimately 2022 graduates are going to be all right.
With their critical junior year spent online, Li said the Class of 2022 was most negatively impacted by COVID of any graduating class. Adding to the challenge, they had to deal with preparing for SAT and ACT tests that were cancelled, virtual AP classes and tests. Li shared against all odds we did that and came back to school in the fall of 2021 as changed people.
When Li asked the graduates if they were tired, most raised their hands. “I’m tired, the world kind of sucks right now doesn’t it?” Li said. “It did a good job of beating us down, but we won’t let it keep us here.” As proof of this, Li highlighted the fundraising and activism efforts her class has led Skyline on through a host of different issues this year.
Looking to the future, Li said now is the time for members of the class of 2022. “Let’s not let fear keep us from doing what we want because guess what, it kind of doesn’t matter. We’re always going to be scared.” Li pointed out however that as the late Kobe Bryant shared there’s nothing to be afraid of, since he failed and woke up the next day ok. Li said the Class of 2022 is going to be ok as well.
The President of the Board of Education, Rebecca Lazarus congratulated the Skyline graduates. Lazarus said, “You are prepared and ready to face life’s challenges. So today embrace your achievement, and know that you are a skyline graduate. This is not an entitlement, it is a tremendous feat. You’ve worked hard for it, and you’ve earned it.”
English teacher Brian Thomas was chosen by students to give the staff commencement address. Thomas highlighted the emotional connections made as the most important ones the class of 2022 will take with them as they move on to their next phase of learning and life. “If you care about what you do and how you do it, you will go far,” Thomas said. “If you care enough to continue to develop and craft relationships built on care with your professors, your employers, and the people you interact with whether on zoom or in person, you will go far.”
Thomas urged the graduates to remember their year of online learning, not as a lost year, but a year spent solidifying stronger relationships with teachers. That’s because students and teachers had to use new ways to keep the connection alive. Thomas said staff, families, and friends were all at the graduation ceremony because they care and members of the class of 2022 matter.
Sixty percent of Skyline’s class of 2022 earned academic honors for maintaining a GPA of 3.2 or higher. The class also left their legacy on the school by presenting a class gift of indoor/outdoor seating and benches for future students and staff to enjoy.
Additional photos are available on the AAPS Facebook page. You can watch the complete CTN Broadcast of the Commencement Ceremony here.