ST. PETERSBURG – For the MYcroSchool Pinellas Charter High School class of 2017, it was the end of the road but the beginning of a new path in life. Forty young men and women received their diplomas at the school’s graduation ceremony last month held at the SPC Allstate Center.
With its personalized approach, MYcroSchool is a community-based learning program that prepares at-promise students for college, technical schools, the military or the workforce.
“Tonight our hard work paid off,” said class Salutatorian Tatyana Raquel Conway.
For Conway as for some of her classmates, the road to graduation was sometimes a tough one. The graduate explained that her life changed when she had her first son at the age of 17, but that pushed her to work even harder because she loved him so much.
With childcare issues, Conway was able to work past three in the morning and yet still take courses with the schedule that MYcroSchool allowed her.
Conway noted it took “strength and determination” to be both a mother to her sons and a student set on completing her education, and gave due credit to her supportive friends and family.
“I’d like to thank my mother for raising such a strong woman,” she said in conclusion. “She made me realize that failure is not an option.”
In addressing his fellow graduates, valedictorian Martin Humphery II pointed out the necessity “to carve our own paths that are unique as us and our own experiences.”
Principal Steven Humphries explained that high school graduation only signifies the end of high school but “not the end of learning.”
“Your journey starts here,” he told the graduates, urging them to “always remember that the hard work you yourself put in pays off and it lasts forever.”
Some graduates may go to college, some may go into the military while others may go straight into the workforce, Humphries pointed out, but he stressed that no matter which path they choose to take, “learning never stops!”
In her commencement address, the Honorable Myra Scott McNary, Pinellas County Circuit Court Judge, impressed upon the graduating class the differences of the “ordinary” as opposed to the “extraordinary.”
It’s the extraordinary—”the glitz,” “glam” and “bling”— that people seem to latch on to these days, she said, so people live their entire lives striving for the extraordinary, yet lose sight of the ordinary.
McNary, who has held a seat on the county court for over 20 years and has won numerous professional and community awards, related her humble childhood in Alabama where she would pick blackberries and painstakingly peel entire bushels of fruits and vegetable on the porch with her grandmother in the summer and make preserves in the winter.
“But what that taught me was a work ethic,” she explained. “Meaning that we cannot despise the small things. That the ordinary always become extraordinary if you’re willing to put in the time and the discipline to make it so!”
The judge also underscored the importance of making wise decisions concerning choosing one’s future companions and influences and emphasized to the graduates that they are investing in their own individual futures.
“The quality of your return,” she concluded, “will be proportionate with the investment that you put in.”
If you are a teenager or young adult looking to finish high school, log onto www.mycroschool.org for more information.