Grattan Academy graduation highlights student accomplishments

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 12:12 pm on Friday, May 25, 2012

Grattan Academy’s class of 2012 graduated on Thursday with 27 students. The valedictorian was Barbee Ryan, while the salutatorian was Anika Willingham. The graduates chose “I made it” by Kevin Rudolf as their class song, the red rose as their class flower and black and red as their class colors. - Daily News/Kelli Ameling

EUREKA TOWNSHIP – Grattan Academy’s 2012 graduating class had a lot to be proud of and celebrate during Thursday’s commencement ceremony.

The class of 27 students not only received their diplomas on graduation day, but they took their last moments together to highlight one another before saying goodbye.

“I have loved teaching here and loved teaching these students,” said Mark Foley, high school English/language arts teacher, who gave the commencement address.

Anika Willingham, the class salutatorian, was honored by the Grattan Academy’s Board of Directors with an iPad2 for being the first student to attend the academy from kindergarten through her senior year.

Anika Willingham was named salutatorian for the class of 2012 at Grattan Academy. During Thursday night’s graduation, she encouraged her fellow classmates to listen to themselves. - Daily News/Kelli Ameling

Principal Tom Kreiner said she completed 13 years in just 12 years after moving ahead during her early years at Grattan Academy.

Willingham’s salutatory address thanked her fellow classmates and Grattan Academy’s administration for the experience she had during her time at the school.

She encouraged the class by telling them to do what they want to do with their lives and not become what others want them to be.

“Listen to yourself,” she said.

The class valedictorian Barbee Ryan had a similar message for her classmates by saying not to live life by others.

She quoted, “Smooth seas do not make for skillful sailors,” and asked students to “take a chance in life” after graduation.

“It’s up to you to take the first step” Ryan said during her valedictory address.

During the commencement ceremony, some of the careers the students wish to peruse after graduation were highlighted such as becoming a lawyer, doctor, nurse, teacher, NBA player and more.

Before handing out the diplomas, Kreiner had the students who planned to serve the country stand to be honored others as well.

“I applaud these students for having big dreams,” Foley said and he told the students to not let anyone get in the way of their dreams. “Take pride in what you do.”


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