Fifth class of iAcademy grads urged to be bold, continue taking risks
BY DEBBIE PAGE
At the iAcademy graduation ceremony at the Career Academy and Technical School (CATS) on Thursday afternoon, Superintendent Brady Johnson thanked parents for their faith in Iredell-Statesville Schools.
“We live in a very complex educational environment with lots and lots of choice options, and you have chosen us, and we take that very seriously. Thank you for letting us serve your children,” he said.
Johnson noted the unique and innovative nature of the iAcademy experience as these students graduated on the 75th anniversary of D-Day. He drew several parallels, noting the planning and sacrifice that went into the historic invasion and the use of the Higgins landing craft, shaped like a shoe box, by the “greatest generation” as they stormed the beaches of Normandy.
“You are today’s greatest generation. The mere fact that you chose an unconventional method to get your high school diploma sets you apart. That tells me that you are here to innovate. That tells me that you are a risk taker.”
“As you prepare to walk out these doors today, kind of like those soldiers on that landing craft, you are going to walk out into the world, independent of your parents, and we want to wish you the very best as you begin that life.”
“Be bold, do something great, challenge yourself,” Johnson concluded.
iAcademy digital learning advisor Johnny Morrow next presented an original poem entitled “Your Next Step Forward,” in which he asked the graduates to “make the world better.” He went on to say that each individual must “step out into the light of who you are.”
In the poem, Morrow advised the graduates to deal in facts, not agendas. He concluded by warning, “On your next step forward, hold tight, I promise you it’s a quick ride.”
Grad soloist Taylor Loyd sang a stunning rendition of “The Impossible Dream,” followed by Honor Speaker Carli Camporeale, who noted she and her fellow graduates elected “to follow a different path” because of their focus on activities, their desire to avoid distractions, or their ability to learn at their own pace.
“We have learned how to manage our time, how to balance work and activities, free time, and assignments. We have learned how to be independent. We also learned how to communicate with others.”
“In the future, let’s continue on taking unique paths. We can go on to create a better and more positive world,” concluded Camporeale.
Counselor Sonja Lewis recognized students who earned a variety of academic honors before the presentation of diplomas, including National Technical Honor Society, cum laude, and magna cum laude status.
Thirty-six graduates received diplomas through the program, with six students graduating in absentia.
The CATS Fire Academy Honor Guard provided the colors, with student Samuel Knox leading the Pledge of Allegiance and Tennille Sherrill singing the National Anthem. Graduate Keri Montagnino welcomed parents and guests to the event.
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