Hats off to our graduates!

Posted on Tuesday May 25, 2010

On Friday, May 28, eight students will graduate from Wayfinder Schools’s Residential Program.  Zech McIntosh, Ian Betts, Tyler Sabattis, Natalie Paul, Eric Knight, Karen Johnson, Khia Newell and Billie Pirruccello have much to be proud of, and lots to celebrate.  To say that this has been a busy year for Wayfinder Schools would be more than an understatement.  These eight students excelled at academics while balancing jobs and internships in the community, completing community service projects, taking part in experiential learning expeditions and more.  Along the way, they learned sign language, started a school-wide composting program, secured YMCA scholarships and library cards for themselves, learned how to row and contra dance, won a national championship, made a student film, appeared on national television, and more.

Each student learned how to plan and prepare meals on a budget.  They hosted an international Thanksgiving dinner, conducted campus tours at the fall open house, and volunteered at our annual fundraising auction.

They took the initiative to train and volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters.  They ran a 5K benefit road race.  They volunteered with The Camden International Film Fest.  They served a locally grown harvest lunch to local school children and helped local seniors prepare their garden beds.  They cleared trails, moved docks and helped combat invasive aquatic species at the Tanglewood 4-H Camp.

They went hiking, rock climbing and camping.  They visited college campuses.  They hosted a mid-winter coffee house and they cheered for our volunteer tutors at our annual dinner.  They hosted their own spaghetti dinner fundraiser.  They visited art galleries, went bowling, dancing, skating and, occasionally, to the movies.  They attended the Common Ground Fair.  In January, they won the National Toboggan Championship for fastest high school, and they did it on a five dollar yard sale sled.

In February, the travelled to New York City, where they visited Brooklyn, China Town, Little Italy, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Natural History Museum, The New York Public Library and Ground Zero.  They even made it onto the nationally televised CBS early show.  On their way back to Maine, the school’s van broke down, but in true Wayfinder Schools spirit, when they finally got going again, they celebrated each state border crossing by breaking into a lively rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

A few weeks ago, the students performed at the second annual Dancing with Local Stars benefit for the school.  They performed the Cha-Cha Slide to an audience of more than 400 people and had a great time doing it.  Better yet, and in a far cry from their New York travel experience, they even got to ride to the event in a donated limousine.

Next week, these students will do what they came here to do-graduate from high school.  For some, it has been a long, and sometimes, difficult and challenging journey, but along the way, they found new confidence, new strengths and skills, new friendships and a whole lot of community support.   On May 28, they will toss their caps into the air in well deserved celebration, and start their new lives as Wayfinder Schools graduates.  We couldn’t be more proud.

The public is invited to attend this year’s graduation ceremony on Friday, May 28 in Camden.  A community pot-luck will be held at the school from 4-5pm, followed by a processional to High Mountain Hall, where the graduation ceremony will begin, around 5:30pm.

Eleven additional students will graduate in June, when The Passages Program will host graduation ceremonies in Washington County on June 12, and in Camden on June 19.  The Camden ceremony will be held at 2:00pm, at The John Street Methodist Church.

For more information, call Wayfinder Schools at 236-3000.