On May 17, the graduating Class of 2017 was honored with a commencement ceremony in the WA gymnasium. During the 2016-2017 academic school year, 51 students either received their high school diploma or Hi-SET equivalent, which is the largest graduating class in school history. The event was the culmination of a life-changing path that the students decided to take while at Woodward Academy. Many would admit that graduating was an unattainable dream and something that was not meant for them. But now that dream is complete where no one can take it from them.
Many parents and family members were able to attend the ceremony and the gymnasium was loud. When handing out diplomas, Lead Teacher William Terry noted how it is often protocol to hold applause until the end, but said “At Woodward Academy, we don’t do it that way.” As he read off the list of graduates, the student section exploded as they cheered for their dorm mates, and there was more than a couple tears of joy shed from the audience.
Principal Cory Wenthe began the ceremony with an introduction, and Group Living Director, Trent Fleshner, announced that seniors Ammari Johnson and Destry Johnson were recipients of the Neiko Morris Scholarship, a generous gift from the parents of a student alum. Senior speakers included Darnell Green, who talked about when he first started contemplating his future was mid-sprint at a track meet last year, as well as seniors Casey Bynum and Destry Johnson. Keynote speaker, Mark Wills, had a great uplifting speech where he challenged students to be their best and reminded them that this day was not the last time they will graduate from something, and that committing themselves and graduating from anything is a good day.
Check out the video below to experience what a loud and exciting graduation ceremony looks like.GO KNIGHTS!