Commentary: Celebrating graduation at Brainerd Public Schools
Another school year has come and gone but for our students it's only the beginning of what the world has in store for them. Graduation, or just completing another school year at Brainerd Public Schools, could not be a more important day of the year.
Another school year has come and gone but for our students it's only the beginning of what the world has in store for them.
Graduation, or just completing another school year at Brainerd Public Schools, could not be a more important day of the year. When you think about 6,500 students in preschool through 12th grade, 358 enrolled in Adult Basic Education and GED, 1,000 employees, 12 school buildings, 173 school days per year, all the textbooks, quizzes, field trips, worksheets, study guides and Google Docs over the course of the year, it really all comes down to this: we want our Warriors to finish the school year ready for summer, workforce, military service, universities or technical schools. This feat is accomplished by having great teachers, staff, families, friends and community supporting each student as they work towards graduation.
We celebrate several different graduations each year at Brainerd Public Schools. It begins with kindergarteners, the youngest Warriors attending the district's six elementary schools, on June 2 at Kinderfriend Day on Don Adamson Field. This was the 30th year of this fun celebration marking the completion of the first year of elementary school.
Students move through each grade working toward that final high school year, hopefully equipped for whatever the future holds for them. Graduation for Brainerd High School seniors was on June 3, 2016. This year, 390 students received diplomas. They also received much more than that. They were the recipients of millions of hours of dedicated work from thousands of individuals over the course of their academic career: teachers, parents, volunteers, and so many more. It is our hope that this investment helped build the foundation from which the graduates will do things for our world that have not yet even been dreamed. This is why graduation ceremonies are called "commencement" exercises; they mark the beginning of a new phase of life for each graduate and their family.
Our seniors took a survey about their future endeavors. We heard from 343 students who told us:
• 170 students or 50 percent are planning to attend a four-year college or university.
• 94 students or 27 percent are planning to enroll in a two-year college.
• 48 students or 14 percent are planning to go directly into the workforce.
• 14 students or 4 percent are planning to serve in the military.
• 14 students or 4 percent are undecided.
• 4 students or .01 percent are planning to attend a trade school.
Another important graduation observed at Brainerd Public Schools is in our Adult Basic Education program. The ABE program is available to adult students with a variety of life situations who are willing to take an extra active role to continue their education with a fresh start in a supportive environment. Our mission remains the same: to help students meet their life challenges and move forward with their educational and personal goals, whether it is to earn a GED-General Educational Development-prepare for college, or brush up on basic skills. There were 358 adults enrolled in ABE program offerings this year, 14 of whom earned their GED this spring. These students were honored and celebrated with a ceremony in late April on the campus of Central Lakes College where the ABE program is located.
Each graduate has a unique success story ... a long one, involving many characters, plot twists, and sometimes setbacks. We at Brainerd Public Schools are proud to be a part of each student's story. Congratulations to each and every one of you!