CENTER — On Saturday, the Academic Recovery Center and Virtual Academy awarded diplomas to 10 students who chose an alternative way to complete their high school education.
The Academic Recovery Center (ARC), headed by Director Joy Werner, was recognized recently because students increased completion rates by more than 15 percent on their FAFSA application.
The ceremony opened with an invocation delivered by Werner, who reminded students that “infinite possibilities are born of faith… pass on the love that has been given to you and know that you are a child of God.”
Center Schools Superintendent Carrie Zimmerman congratulated students for their dedication in completing the requirements for graduation, telling them: “This is the end of one chapter and the beginning of a brand-new chapter.”
The class address was delivered by Melissa Rendon and Monica Mendoza. They thanked friends and family for making their walk possible. Mendoza told classmates: “It’s what we do out there that defines who we really are. As we walk the stage, we may not have any idea what we want to be, but this is just the first step. The moments we shared and the lessons we learned will always be there.”
In speaking to her graduates, Werner focused on the crossroads in life students face and where they go from there. “They had to make a decision that led them to today. Life’s lessons are not formed in a straight line. No matter what happens today there is always tomorrow and we’ll get through it. You have the common sense and education to make it where you need to go — all of you. You have a choice and I have confidence you will make it.”
In a special address, language arts teacher John Noriega told students they had “climbed a great mountain and nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks. You will fall and embarrass yourselves. When you fall throughout life fall forward and never look back.
He then told the story of the tapestry that is sewn from the front, yet no one ever sees the back side. “The bright colors are happy days; the dark colors are failures and disappointments. When you look at the back of the tapestry it is confusing but the front, when completed, shows a lovely picture of life. Have a song in your heart and a smile on your face. Go out into the world to create your tapestry.”
Class colors were maroon and black. The class flower was a black rose. This year’s ARC motto was: “Chase your dreams, but always know the road that will lead you home again.” — Tim McGraw.
Those graduating were: Ace Asbell, Yisel Leon-Villagomez, Ezequiel Perez, Santos Villanueva, Miguel Francisco-Juan, Monika Mendoza, Melissa Rendon, Marilu Zamora (ARC); Melidie Childers, Abby Kendrick (Virtual Academy).