Nearly 1,600 Sioux Falls School District students from Lincoln, Roosevelt and Washington High Schools received their high school diplomas, ending one era in their lives and beginning the next.
A number of the highlights and achievements of the Class of 2012 were announced at each ceremony. Cumulatively, this is what a few of them look like:
The Sioux Falls School District Class of 2012 has
492 students who are recognized as Regents Scholars by the South Dakota Department of Education
229 students who are members of the National Honor Society
97 students who are recognized as Advanced Placement Scholars by the College Board
11 students who are National Merit Finalists
282 students who are Presidential Education Award winners
211 students who are Sioux Falls School District AP Scholars
And these are just a few of their accomplishments. Each school’s seniors accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars in hard-earned scholarships toward post-secondary education. These classes led teams and clubs to numerous state and regional championships in sports and other activities. Each school’s Class of 2012 helped raise and donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to for local charities and families throughout their high school careers.
Graduation Day is a proud day for the District. Attending the ceremonies, it is impossible to miss the tremendous diversity each of our schools embrace. Among the graduates of 2012 are students from all walks of life, from every socioeconomic group, from every corner of Sioux Falls and the surrounding communities. Some students had been in Sioux Falls schools since kindergarten. Others had joined their classmates after moving here from other cities or towns or had open-enrolled for the tremendous options available to them. Still others are immigrants from other countries, whose parents were determined to give them every possibility for a successful future.
And now they have it. Teachers and parents are regularly, and rightly, praised throughout graduation day, and indeed, without these individuals, it’s impossible to imagine such a successful result. When the mortarboards are thrown in the air, the feelings of relief, elation, and accomplishment are hard to miss. But perhaps even more memorable are the hugs and handshakes between teachers and students, the smiling, crying, cheering and even dancing of photo-snapping parents of Washington High School graduates, the mom who unrolled three special rugs for her students to walk over after receiving their diplomas from Lincoln High School while she hugged them ferociously, the Roosevelt High School Choral director silently mouthing “I Love You” to her students as they ended their final, amazing rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.
It is a day when it is brilliantly evident that the appreciation for education is alive and well among parents and students of all ages. It is a day when 1,600 immensely diverse students, their parents, families and friends have something in common. It is a day when you see the value of the work of each and every employee of the Sioux Falls School District reach its ultimate goal.
And you learn that pride is a universal emotion.