Student Voices: 2015 Graduate Speaker Melanie Horton

Commonwealth Connections Academy

Congratulations, Class of 2015! All of our hard work has allowed us to share this wonderful moment today. When I transferred to Commonwealth Connections Academy this fall, I didn’t really know what to expect. I wondered how I’d be able to develop relationships with my teachers, counselors, and classmates through a cyber school. I also had to learn all of the facets of Connexus such as how to turn on my mic during LiveLessons and how to submit portfolios through the DropBox. While some of you may have been a student at CCA for many years now, we all share the experience of adjusting to our unique school system.

Someone once said, “Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you will go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you’ve faced. All the battles you have won. All the fears you’ve overcome. All the chapters you have written. Remember the moments that came before when you had this same doubt and overcame it. You can go as far as you let yourself go. Let go and you will soar farther that you’ve ever imagined.” Let’s keep this in mind as we reflect on our personal journeys that brought us here today.

We all went from students just learning how to navigate Connexus to students who were able to take advantage of our individualized learning experiences. We began to appreciate the value of attending LiveLessons as we were able to discuss our coursework and really develop relationships with our classmates and teachers. We learned that our teachers were only a phone call away, always ready and willing to help us with whatever we needed. We started taking advantage of our school’s flexible structure by getting more involved in our communities.

All of us are now on our newfound path to adulthood. Some of us will be attending college in the fall. Others will be taking a gap year full of community service prior to beginning college. Additional graduates will be seeking employment in the workforce or serving our country. With this new transition comes a lot of uncertainty. Are we prepared to excel? Can we make a difference? Will we make the most of every opportunity presented to us?

Embrace this uncertainty as there will rarely be a time in our lives where we’ll feel like we’re 100% ready to go on life’s adventures. Remember to look back on all that we’ve accomplished and overcome already to show ourselves that we have the skills to take on any challenge in our way. Our new cyber school setting gave us the opportunity to understand what we needed to do to succeed and learn to reach out for guidance whenever we needed it.

All of us have the personal determination required to complete all of our coursework. We also know that it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help. That extra phone call to go over a portfolio that we found challenging helped us to strengthen our understanding and learning ability. Having the support of our parents and guardians when we had no clue what we needed to do next in order to achieve our post-graduation goals was essential to solidifying our plans for the future. Also, we developed a support system of classmates, teachers, and guidance counselors. We cheered each other on as we completed our assignments, especially when each semester was coming to a close. Our teachers have helped to facilitate a tremendous amount of growth within us. Our guidance counselors helped us to process the present and prepare for a future of our own design.

As we move forward, we’ll carry all of these skills we’ve developed to help us succeed. All of us will need to be committed to our new direction in life. We’ll also need to take as many opportunities as possible to learn from those who are more experienced than us. Additionally, we’ll all need to create a social network of people who encourage us to become the successful adults we’ve always wanted to be. The road ahead may not be easy, but we’re all more than capable of applying what we’ve already learned from our personal journeys to the new challenges that may present themselves. So, once again, I’d like to congratulate you all on everything that you have accomplished thus far and wish you all the best of luck in all of your future ambitions. Although all of our paths may lead us to different places, I know that we are all prepared to face any challenge that comes our way. Thank you, Class of 2015!