Commencement 2012

With the largest class of graduates in recent history, 2012 is a banner year for Hillsides Education Center. Six students who participated in commencement exercises last Thursday joined three peers who received their high school diplomas in January. In addition to the high school graduates, 14 8th grade graduates had their own celebration on June 1st. These celebrations are made possible by the extraordinary commitment of their teachers and classroom staff, led by Jay Bechtol, a longtime Hillsides staff member and director of the Education Center. It is their commitment and unwavering belief in the potential of these students that make it all possible. Our hats are off to all the graduates who have indeed lived up to the great expectations that have been placed upon them. 



This is a time to celebrate the achievements of the graduates.  I am happy to cheer them on from the side lines and honored to be called upon to confer the diplomas. As I milled about the post graduation celebration, the mother of one of the graduates came up to me to introduce herself and then proceeded to tell me how grateful she is for all that her son has achieved while at Hillsides. He joined us and she continued to acknowledge with great pride his accomplishments. I remembered the first time I met him; his cocky self assurance masked his vulnerability. In the course of several months, he has come to grow in a sense of achievement and become truly confident.
Among our graduates, we have some who are college bound, one off to a music institute, while others are still entertaining their options. However, all of them leave with a sense of pride that will serve them well in life and hopefully provide a foundation for their success.
What can you say to graduates that has not all ready been said? I would only add that I hope they know they can count on Hillsides to continue to support them. Our commitment to those we serve is not defined by their length of time in care, but rather by our resolve to be a resource for them and their families whenever they call upon us.
Jay Bechtol challenged the graduates to stay in touch. He suggested they come back to next year’s graduation to share what has happened to them during the year with another group of graduates as a way to encourage another class to hope, dream and achieve.

One Comment on “Commencement 2012

  1. Give kudos to the residential staff, too. It's impossible to get homework done in an unsafe home environment.

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