By Lisa Carolin
Sunday, June 2, was a memorable day in the lives of 224 seniors who attended their graduation ceremony from Chelsea High School.
High School Principal Mike Kapolka knew he had found the right theme about the senior class when he found the acronym REAL, which stands for Reject passivity, Engage with others, Act with integrity, Live and lead courageously.
“The Class of 2019 is many things that fit these definitions,” said Kapolka.
He cited the Class of 2019’s Why You Matter Campaign and how it has been replicated across the U.S. He also cited the more than $7,000 raised for pediatric rehabilitation programs by the Mini-VictorThon, and he complimented the student council advocating to change the Homecoming Queen award to the more inclusive Chelsea Excellence Award.
“If you continue down the path of last 13 years, the world will be a better place because you made a real impact and a real change,” Kapolka said.
The theme of Superintendent of Schools Julie Helber’s speech was grit.
“Perseverance and passion for long-term goals is the definition of grit,” said Helber. “All of you faced some sort of adversity during your high school years. As you experience adversity, your resiliency bank grows and your resiliency grows. Grit is living life like a marathon and not a sprint.”
Seniors Briana Hay and Drew Vanderspool chose to combine forces rather than deliver individual student addresses. From A to Z, they listed many of the memorable and humorous things about their high school experience.
They cited “D” for Dexter and the many victories over the Dreadnaughts, “M” for Michelle Obama, whose advocacy for healthy eating took away the school’s deep fryer, “P” for the high school’s parking passes and just how much they cost, and “X” for excellence, the Chelsea way.
The ceremony concluded with presentations of diplomas to each student, and the official turning of the tassels on their caps to indicate that the Class of 2019 had officially graduated.