I recently attended the graduation ceremonies of our 10 comprehensive high schools, where I had the distinct pleasure of shaking the hands of more than 3,000 graduates. Many of those graduates wore honor cords, sashes, or medals symbolizing a variety of academic achievements. Receiving a diploma is always a joyous and proud moment of celebration for each graduate! And I am honored to share that moment with every one of them.
However, the graduation ceremony which touches my heart the most deeply is the ceremony for students graduating from our Flexible Evening HS. These students opted for the Flexible Evening HS because they were not able to meet the graduation requirements – for many varied reasons – in a traditional program. I’m always glad to see these wonderful students get the recognition they’ve earned.
Every Flex HS graduate tells a story that is different – and often painful. Some of these students share stories about overcoming drug addiction or homelessness. Some talk about having to face severe anxiety or family tragedy. The obstacles and barriers that stood in the way of many of these students were daunting.
While all of their stories – and all of their personal obstacles – were different, there was one common thread among our Flexible Evening HS students. The one thing they all have in common is this: perseverance!
These kids have overcome unbelievable obstacles to reach a goal – earning a high school diploma! They have grit. They have determination. And they have a sincere appreciation for the importance of having that diploma. As I shake the Flex graduates' hands, I am in awe of what they have overcome to reach this milestone.
We don't have honor cords for grit or perseverance. But if we did, I have no doubt that the Flexible Evening HS graduates would be lavishly adorned!
What obstacles did you face when you were in high school? How did you overcome them? Tell me what you think on Twitter @FCPSMDSuper. And whether or not you agree with this post, if you enjoyed it, please feel free to share it on Facebook or Twitter.