CRUHSD Academy bids farewell to it's largest graduating class

posted May 21, 2017, 7:59 PM by Nadine Angulo-Hielscher   [ updated May 21, 2017, 8:06 PM ]\

By RODD CAYTON The Daily News | Sunday, May 21, 2017

The CRUHSD Academy Class of 2017 clutches diplomas Friday evening at the school’s fourth graduation ceremony, preparing to take a bow just before the traditional cap toss. The Academy is the fastest-growing of the nine schools in the Colorado River and Bullhead City districts, spokesman Lance Ross said. It uses a blended curriculum that includes both online and traditional classroom components.

BULLHEAD CITY — There are a number of paths that this year’s CRUHSD Academy graduates can take toward success, Patrick Beck told them Friday evening.

Beck, guest speaker at the school’s graduation ceremony, mentioned the lives of two men born in the Midwest in the early 20th century, either of whom might be termed a success.

First, there was James Dean, an actor who gave three acclaimed performances before dying in a car crash at age 24.

Next, Beck talked about Norman Borlaug, an agronomist the students had likely never heard of. Borlaug developed an interest in plant science and studied ways to create drought- and disease-resistant crops.

In doing so, Beck said, he made profound changes in the food security of Mexico and India and prevented more than a billion people from starving.

For his contributions to the world food supply, Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970.

“I urge you not to find success in the stuff you can buy or in popularity,” Beck said. “Judge your success by the impact you can have on lives. That is how to find true success.”

Academy director Troy Heaton opened the ceremony by talking about the “impatient age,” in which we live and the lure of quick satisfaction summed up in the phrases “video-on-demand” and “one-day delivery.”

Heaton applauded the grads for putting in the effort to reach the stage in the Mohave High School auditorium.

“This was not instant,” he said. “It took work, time and sacrifice.”

Senior class president Brenda Robledo recalled her efforts to balance online courses with family and a full-time job.

“Giving up came across my mind millions of times over the past three years,” she said. “But I made it.”

She and student speakers Jasmine Gomez and Anthony Ortiz talked about the valuable assistance family members and school employees provided to help the graduates.

Ortiz said that the taste of success should spur his classmates to never settle for less than their best and to not be daunted by obstacles.

“‘No’ to us should be not a roadblock, but a vantage point,” he said.

School Supt. Riley Frei asked the Class of 2017 to stay in touch with the community, so that it might celebrate graduates’ future successes.

The school awarded diplomas to 27 students. Another six have already received their diplomas, but did not participate. By any count, it’s a record; last year there were 24 graduates. The first graduating class, in 2014, had nine students.

Robledo received the Edward Cook Scholarship, the first to be awarded to a CRUHSD Academy graduate.

Graduate Gloria Gonzalez said that she was upset at learning that none of her senior credits earned in California were transferable. She said that instructors believed she could make them up, and that she was determined to justify their confidence in her. She’s going to concentrate on working for a semester, then hopes to enroll at Mohave Community College in the spring and work toward a career in cosmetology or criminal psychology.

Eugene Lyon called CRUHSD Academy “the best thing that ever happened to me,” based on the staff’s dedication to the success of every student. He is considering Full Sail University or DeVry University as he works toward a career in computer science, game design or computer engineering. 

Gonzalez said her family was planning a graduation-night party for her; Lyon had more mellow plans.

“Get plenty of sleep,” he said. “Then look towards the future.”