At Shelterwood, we always cherish the opportunity to celebrate our students’ accomplishments. May 27, 2016, was an especially meaningful occasion — graduation.

For Shelterwood students, graduation marks more than a purely academic achievement. This is a celebration of perseverance, explains Shelterwood Principal John Lawrence.

“Some kids come to us not even interested in graduating high school, feeling that they were too far gone,” John says. “Others face issues in their high school, and Shelterwood provided them a way to continue school and education in a different setting. So for all our graduates, this is an exciting time in their lives.”

Shelterwood Graduates

Students from the Shelterwood Class of 2016

Not only is graduation special for the students, it is meaningful for the Shelterwood team too. “This is a significant stepping stone for these students and we played a part in helping the student’s achievement come to fruition.”

The Shelterwood class of 2016 is made up of students with a variety of aspirations and ambitions. Some hope to be teachers, one wants to pursue sports therapy and some want to do social work. Our students’ fully-accredited diploma from Shelterwood means that they can go to college anywhere. Our graduates’ plans include work, community college, distance coursework and attendance at state universities.

Families and loved ones traveled from across the country to support their students. The graduation ceremony began with the traditional Pomp and Circumstance, and students entered the Shelterwood chapel in caps and gowns. A Shelterwood teacher continued the ceremony with a welcome and opening prayer. Another teacher gave a graduation charge, encouraging students to always look forward.

As students received their diplomas, a staff member read a short biography about the student’s hopes for the future, plans for school and what they want to accomplish. Students moved their tassel from one side to the other and graduation caps flew.

“Anytime we have a graduation, whether it’s graduation from high school or from the program, it’s fantastic for our other students too,” John says. “They get to see themselves in it, and see what’s possible.”

For staff, students and families, Shelterwood graduation represents obstacles overcome and dreams realized. “All of us are excited for graduation, because it celebrates what felt impossible before.”