Graduation ceremonies are always exciting events to celebrate student achievement and embrace the promise of a bright future.
For students graduating from Sni Valley Academy, Grain Valley High School’s alternative program, their path to commencement was not a smooth one, but the end result is just as exciting..
“There are a variety of reasons why students come to Sni Valley. Some are behind in credits or have attendance or discipline issues, some come to us with anxiety and medical issues. Even though the reasons they come to us are different, the end goal remains the same. To graduate high school with a plan in place for the future,” Ryan Adams, teacher at Sni Valley Academy said.
The program at Sni Valley is individualized for each student. The state accredited program allows students to gain 15 hours work experience and complete 15 school hours weekly toward the goal of completing credits to graduate. Gaining the student’s trust and determining what barriers are preventing them from moving toward graduation is a key initial step according to Adams.
“Our number one goal is to establish a relationship with a student. Once we do that, we can talk about what’s going on outside school. Our teachers have to wear a lot of hats, but watching our students go from not such great shape academically to getting their diploma is very satisfying. Our students battle so much adversity. The perseverance they show is amazing,” Adams said.
Two students received scholarships through the Bright Futures program to continue their education, including a student who plans to pursue a nursing degree.
Adams and fellow teacher Jill Maxon both addressed students during the May 9th commencement ceremony.
“Your path to this stage tonight was a lot different than other students graduating high school this year. As a student of the alternative program at Grain Valley, you have taken the road less traveled. Many of you have faced situations that many of your other classmates could not comprehend. But in the end, you’ve been able to meet your challenges and achieve success,” Adams said.
“You have already done something to change your life. So keep going. Don’t stop here. Keep looking for new ways to challenge yourself. Keep pushing yourself to accomplish goals that people say are not yours to accomplish. Keep pushing to be the best person you can be,” Maxon said.
The excitement of the event was overwhelming for graduate Carey Ross.
“I’m just very happy. I have a lot of family here to support me, and I am overwhelmed,” Ross said.
Carey’s father, James Ross, beamed as he talked about his daughter’s accomplishments.
I’m just so proud of her. She’s had a lot of support from her teachers, and it is just awesome to see her accomplish this,” Ross said.
Graduate Aaron Van Eck celebrated after graduation with his family and infant daughter Aurora.. Van Eck was able to transfer from Grain Valley High School to Sni Valley to complete work toward earning his diploama in just a few weeks. Van Eck is continuing his education in the construction trades.
“I had a lot of help from teachers at Sni Valley, who made the process easier,” Van Eck said.
The 2019 graduates of Sni Valley Academy:
Jackson Christopher Boland
Bailey Jane Brown
Adam Joshua Edwards
Alexis Lynn Freeman
Alice DuMoria Fromdahl
Stacia Ann Godden
Antonio DeJesus Gomez
Cristo Antonio Gomez
Perriona La’Nay Grace
Rachel Kaitlyn Grafton
Sarah Elizabeth Hicks
McKenna Elise Holland
Victoria Angelika Holloway
Spencer Braydon Howerton
Alyssa Sabashtianne LaRocco
Robert Lee Lowe
Sawyer Grace Lukenbill
Sydney Nicole Marlow
Bethany Victoria Mills
Hannah Ann Mullins
Carey Lynn Ross
Jared Dean Schupp
Ashlynn Faye Sheets
Jacob Richard South
Lauren Elizabeth Sullivan
Hailey Christine Thompson
Aaron Christopher Van Eck
Sydney Marie Walters
Zoe Alexa Yardley
Sni Valley Academy graduates received their high school diplomas during a commencement ceremony at Grain Valley High School on May 9th. Photo credit: Grain Valley Schools
“Your path to this stage tonight was a lot different than other students graduating high school this year. As a student of the alternative program at Grain Valley, you have taken the road less traveled. Many of you have faced situations that many of your other classmates could not comprehend. But in the end, you’ve been able to meet your challenges and achieve success.”
Ryan Adams, teacher
Sni Valley Academy
Photo credit: Valley News staff