Congratulations! To all the high school students who will graduate this spring – we applaud you. There is no denying that high school has many obstacles but you’ve persevered and you’ve made it! Rest assured, if there were some late nights and groggy mornings that you spent working on a range of subjects and extra-curricular activities, those efforts were not in vain.
As you grace the stage – diploma in hand and cap on head – know that you are a symbol of success. Also know that there are many individuals in your communities who are proud of your achievement, including family members, friends, tutors, mentors, teachers, and coaches.
As I reflect back on my high school experience I can easily attribute my success to Pathways to Education. At the time, I couldn’t have guessed that walking through the Pathways office would mean that I would walk out, four years later, as a distinguished graduate. Pathways provided me with the confidence to achieve academic excellence. The tutoring sessions I attended helped me maintain honor roll status while the mentoring sessions significantly boosted my self-esteem. High school taught me various lessons; however, personal growth was one that I learned outside of the classroom.
I can’t remember the exact grades I achieved in my final year of high school but I do remember the friends I made, the teachers I admired, the mentors I respected, and the relationships I formed. For me, high school was about asking questions, offering ideas, and working together with others, lessons that have served me in good stead.
The network of people and organizations applauding your success are also the ones cheering you on towards your post-secondary aspirations. I am grateful for the support of organizations like the Johnson Scholarship Foundation because they recognize the complex socio-economic barriers some students face in addition to providing them with the resources they need to overcome those barriers. Having access to scholarships helped me to achieve academic success that would not have been possible without financial aid.
Whatever your future may hold, know that you can take many of the lessons you have learned in high school with you. I wish continued success to the graduating class of 2017!