Academy Students Take Different Paths to Graduation

posted Aug 31, 2016, 3:00 PM by CRSK12 Admin   [ updated Aug 31, 2016, 3:01 PM ]

By RODD CAYTON The Daily News | Sunday, May 22, 2016


Members of the CRUHSD Academy Class of 2016 prepare to enter the Mohave High School auditorium for the school’s graduation ceremony Friday evening. The academy awarded 24 diplomas, director Yuri Buus said. 

There’s more than one road to “Pomp and Circumstance,” and 24 students Friday evening arrived after taking their own routes, though they were not traditional.

The graduates of CRUHSD Academy celebrated their triumph over obstacles that included credit shortages, disciplinary issues and a poor fit with traditional school models.

At the ceremony, student speaker Rebecca Cuilty spoke of the Class of 2016’s hard work, but also of the effort put in by school staff to help the students on their journey into adulthood.

She called enrolling at the academy “one of the best decisions I have ever made,” citing its self-paced curriculum and one-on-one attention from instructors.

She said that school director Yuri Buus, in particular, deserved credit for helping the students move on.

“Your tough love is the reason we are here today,” she said.

Christine Seabury, delivering the teacher address, lauded the graduates, saying they earned their places on stage in the Mohave High School auditorium.

“You have asked questions and sought answers,” she said. “You have discovered and learned new ideas and earned the respect of your parents, teacher and peers.”

Then she challenged the graduates to search for their “ikigai,” a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being.”

There are four components: social, structure, stimulation and a story, she said.

Each student’s story, Seabury said, includes how that person relates to something bigger.

“Just because you’re graduating doesn’t mean you’re no longer students,” she said.

Colorado River Union High School District Supt. Riley Frei picked up the story theme, saying that each student’s story is different, and needs to be.

“Not everybody likes to go to

school the way I went to school 25 years ago,” he said, citing the need for an alternative school model as the reason the academy was created four years ago.

He said that the graduates, by receiving their diplomas, have solidified their reputations, and that as they now go forward, they represent the community.

“Doors will open and close in our lives because of our reputations,” Frei said. “We want you to go on to do bigger and better things.”

The evening included a performance of “I Hope You Dance”  by teacher Jen Rhue and a special award for graduate Natasha Ferrian, who designed the school’s new Phoenix logo.

After Frei completed the ceremony by conferring diplomas on the graduates, caps flew into the air, in twos and threes.

“I think they’re a little shocked,” Buus joked.

After the ceremony, Cuilty said she entered CRUHSD Academy two and a half years ago to try to recover credits. She said that she had planned on transferring to another school once she caught up, but changed her mind because she found the environment at the academy beneficial.

Cuilty said she is probably now going to Mohave Community College to study psychology.

Dakota Weightman said he got into trouble during his sophomore year at another school, and discovered that CRUHSD Academy was more suitable to his hands-on learning style. He said that Buus and Seabury are among the students who helped him reach the finish line.

Weightman now plans to study diesel mechanics at WyoTech in Wyoming.

“This school gave him a hope,” Weightman’s mother, Kimra Moore, said. “He had some complications, but he was a pretty good student.”