During the last week of May, the Intergenerational Schools hosted Commencement Ceremonies for the graduating Class of 2022 to celebrate the 72 8th grade students who will be starting high school in the fall. Graduating students have been part of the Intergenerational Schools for years, many since kindergarten. Families, teachers, and community partners joined to honor each student’s learning journey and all of the hard work dedicated to reaching their educational goals.
Earl Ingram, Director for the Saint Luke’s Manor Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Ohio and TIS-East Dean of Students served as the emcee for The Intergenerational School – East’s commencement ceremony. “Mr. Earl,” as students know him, has spent countless afternoons with many of the graduates who participate in Boys and Girls Club activities after school each day. In his welcome speech, he remarked on the tremendous positive impact this class has had on the school and on him.
“I have watched many of you grow into the amazing young adults you are today, and I know you have bright futures ahead of you,” Mr. Earl told students.
Danielle Sydnor, Founder and CEO of We Win Strategies Group (WWSG) and President of the Cleveland Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), delivered the keynote speech in which she spoke about taking risks and the importance of “having a game plan” for the things you want to do. She encouraged students to remember that they “have the opportunity to think about the risks you are willing to take” as they discover more along their path. “You’re going to go on different ways, but you will always have these relationships.”
Emmet O’Melia, Applying Stage Science teacher at Near West, shared a video highlighting special memories and moments that the 8th graders were able to share during their time. In his welcome address, Mr. O’Melia shared that we learn the most from our mistakes and that even though this next chapter will be a fresh start, there is no reason to fear making mistakes in the future.
“I have been able to teach the Class of 2022 for the past two years. They are the most charismatic and talented group. It’s been amazing to see how they have grown and will be able to take their skills and interests with them on to high school.”-Nate Manthey, Near West Art Teacher
Three members of the Class of 2022, Fiona Boyd, Mae Wimbiscus, and Natalia Crawford, took to the lectern to speak, reflecting on their time at Near West, and expressing gratitude for their time with peers and teachers, the memories they’ll cherish and the learning journeys that brought them to this day.
Once the last Near West student crossed the stage to receive a certificate, Mr. O’Melia closed the ceremony with these parting words: “Go confidently and remember where you are from. You can do anything as long as you have the right perspective.”
During the Lakeshore graduation ceremony, several students received recognition from their Applying Stage teachers with benchmark awards for meeting reading and writing, math, and community service. Emma Preston and Charles Marn were identified as Honor graduates for going above and beyond.
Four Lakeshore students—Charles Marn, Calvin West Jr., Nate Dixon, and Jordan Reed—spoke at the ceremony, thanking their teachers and reflecting on how Lakeshore influenced them. Margaret Craig, Founder and Director of Grandma’s House, an After School Program located onsite at Lakeshore, was the keynote speaker. She opened with a quote from Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”: “Congratulations, today’s your day. Imagine the places you’ll go.” She shared that this was the last book published during Dr. Seuss’s lifetime, yet that it was not about a story ending, but how there are many things ahead. “There will be bumps in the road, but there are still many things ahead. Your experience at Lakeshore has taught you to be yourself and that there isn’t anything you can’t do.”
Starting a New Chapter
Students marked their official graduation with the tassel ceremony, and the cheers and tears in the room confirmed the bittersweet joy surrounding such a big milestone as each student took their turn accepting a certificate. Following each school’s ceremony, teachers, staff and families gathered one last time around this year’s graduates to celebrate, take pictures and remind the Class of 2022 that while they’ll each continue on their own paths, they will always have a place in the Intergenerational Schools community.
“Wherever our students go when they leave Lakeshore, they’ll always be a part of our school community. I couldn’t be prouder of this class.”Mr. Shawn Hallowell, Lakeshore Principal
On behalf of the entire Intergenerational Schools community, we congratulate the eighth grade Class of 2022 on this momentous achievement and thank the students, their families, our teachers, and community volunteers for coming together to support boundless learning. We are proud to be sending these 72 students on to high school and into the community to continue the tradition of spirited citizenship and lifelong learning. Good luck, and stay curious!
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