This spring brings a sense of accomplishment to the Excelsior campus, as three girls graduate from high school and look forward to a bright future. Families, teachers, staff and peers gathered in the auditorium on Friday, May 22nd and watched with pride as these three graduates received their diplomas.
Deb Huerta, Principal of Excelsior School, began the ceremony by reciting a portion of Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the places you’ll go!” – the theme of this spring’s graduation.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! –Dr. Seuss
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
Dr. Seuss’s poem helps remind the girls to always maintain an optimism towards life, especially when entering new phases. It tells us that we create our own destiny and each one of us determines where our brains and feet will take us. After reading this excerpt, Deb reminded us that life is a choice and every day is a brand new destination. Deb looked at the graduates as she told them: “Everything and anything you want to do is possible. Embrace your dreams and embrace your future”.
Dixie – Dixie will attend Arapahoe Community College in the all, where she will work towards an Associate’s degree in Arts & Science with an emphasis in Sign Language Interpretation.
“I have learned that nothing can get in my way as long as I put my mind to it.”
Jeannette – Jeannette will attend Aurora Community College in the fall, where she will begin her course of study to become a Zoologist. Her passion has always been caring for animals, and this summer she will continue working in the grooming department of her local Veterinary Clinic.
“For my future, I’d like to see the ocean, see the beauty of life, travel the world, hike mountains, leave the past behind me even though I know it’ll always be there, move forward smell the fresh air, and now that I’ve graduated I know I can do all that; be successful, be happy and be who I want to be without anyone trying to stop me.”
Kayla – Kayla will attend Metro in the fall, where she plans to major in Business with a minor in Hospitality Tourism. This summer she will continue working at the Better Business Bureau.
“Before Excelsior, I couldn’t see myself being successful. I really couldn’t. I thought that I was a failure. I thought that I couldn’t do anything right…It’s changed my life for the better. I’ve learned that I have the potential to do really well and that I can be successful.”
Telling your Story to Embrace your Future
Lois Melkonian (anchor, reporter and radio/television host) delivered a wonderful commencement speech as Excelsior’s Graduation Speaker. She began by congratulating the graduates and referencing Dr. Seuss’s poem by telling them many changes and difficulties lay ahead of them. However she assured them that there’s one thing that won’t change: “now that you’ve graduated from Excelsior, you will stay forever graduated from Excelsior. And no one can take that away from you.” She then looked at the graduates and asked, “So what’s next? I believe it hinges on knowing who you are and being able to tell your story. Who am I? How did I get here? What do I love to do? So now how do I tell my story?”
Lois asked herself these questions to guide her career path. Lois’s story is unique – she grew up with an Armenian father and Danish mother who were both missionaries, along with four brothers and a sister. She began her life in India then moved to Lebanon until a war broke out in 1967 and her family was forced out. So her family got in a boat and traveled to Denmark when she spent many years of her young life, before moving to the United States. It was in Modesto, CA that she discovered her love for breaking news and telling stories. She caught her break in the world of reporting when she took on a story that required her to climb Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. She joined a team of climbers who were assisting a paraplegic who was climbing to the summit. However, the expedition didn’t go as smoothly as expected. When some bad weather came in, the entire team was forced to camp for four days, without adequate supplies or shelter. Lois isn’t one to give up, so she weathered the storm and as soon as the skies were clear, she ran down the mountain so that she could still be first to deliver the story. She credits her big break to that experience where she refused to give up when all odds were against her. Lois’s childhood had instilled that value in her. This value along with her passion for breaking news made this story, and Lois’s life story, successful. Lois concluded her speech by telling the graduates, “When you know who you are, how you got here and what you love to do, your story will naturally flow and it’s that story that people want to hear.”