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2022 Lincoln Education grads are building’s last class

The class of 2022 is the last to graduate from the Lincoln Education Center building on Oak Street before it is demolished this summer.

Graduating seniors sit and listen to a speaker at graduation.
Lincoln Education Center's graduating seniors sit in front of friends and family at their graduation ceremony Thursday, June 2, 2022. The class will be the last to graduate at the building, which will be torn down by the district.
Sara Guymon / Brainerd Dispatch
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BRAINERD — For the last time ever, Lincoln Education Center graduates walked through the building’s gymnasium in caps and gowns to receive their high school diplomas.

Six students celebrated their accomplishments during a ceremony Thursday, June 2.

The 1938 building is scheduled to be demolished later this year, and the special education services offered at Lincoln will move to their new home at the old south campus at Brainerd High School.

“It was a little bittersweet,” Lincoln Principal Amy Jordan said after the ceremony. “It’s so exciting to think of our new building, but we’re just such a family here. And I know we’ll be a family there as well, but it’s just a special place, and it’s amazing how you become attached to the space that you come to everyday.”

Lincoln’s demolition is part of the 2018 referendum, with the high school renovated to make room for the services offered at Lincoln. The place the old building stands will become a parking lot.

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The class of 2022 composed of Easton, Kekoa, Tre’von, Emily, Samuel and Zachary gave Lincoln a fitting goodbye, walking in and out to the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance,” and celebrating monumental accomplishments over the past four years. Students’ last names were withheld for privacy reasons.

“The future is in your hands” served as the theme of Thursday’s ceremony, with staff encouraging students to pave their own way in life after graduation.

“Graduates, up until now, the decisions that you have made were not always your decisions,” Jordan said during the ceremony. “Most often, someone else — your parents, your grandparents, your friends, maybe your social social worker, school staff, you name it. Someone else has been telling you what to do for 18 long years. … But from this day forward, the decisions that you make are truly your own. Your future is in your hands.”

Jordan’s speech was peppered with applause after every few lines as she praised the students for their successes — graduating high school, getting jobs, enrolling in college, finding apartments and getting their driver's licenses.

“It’s just a relief,” graduate Tre’von said, “knowing that I can go and do college now and not have to worry about bad grades right now and getting graduation credits.”

Of the six graduates, three are enrolled at Central Lakes College for the fall semester, and others have work plans.

“You should each be very proud of yourselves,” Jordan told the graduates. “At Lincoln, we are small. We do things a little differently sometimes. We are real, we support each other, and I saw that just before we walked in here today. … We are a family, and we are pretty darn amazing.”

More by Theresa Bourke

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at theresa.bourke@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa.

Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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