ACES grads mark a milestone

46 students earn high school degrees June 15
By Nicholas Johnson | Jun 20, 2017
Photo by: Nicholas Johnson Graduate Madelyn Stowe, left, holds up a scroll signed by students as she and fellow graduate Mikayla Lewis present the scroll to Principal Marcie Polin, right, during graduation ceremonies June 15 at ACES High School.

ACES Principal Marcie Polin has been called many things over her 40 years in education.

“Nice, fair, funny, strict, scary, understanding,” she listed while holding a trophy that her class of 2017 graduates had given her the week before. “Kind words are always welcome, but to be told that I inspire you is, for me, the highest compliment.”

Some 46 ACES High School graduates walked the stage June 15 to accept their diplomas in front of family and friends in the ACES gymnasium.

Polin took the opportunity to announce her retirement, and told the graduates just how much they had inspired her.

“You have inspired me to be a better listener, to be more patient and kind, to be fair and understanding and, yes, sometimes you have inspired me to be angry and frustrated,” she said.

“Even with that, because of your inspiration, I am always able to return the following day and greet whatever the day will bring. If I can take all that I have learned from you into the next chapter of my life, I will be a better person for it.”

Polin also shared a few facts about her graduates. Some 32 are graduating on time, 22 have been working while finishing school, five have been parenting children and 11 are the first in their families to graduate from high school. Some 24 plan to attend college, three are entering the military, and one has survived cancer. Twelve drive themselves to school, and 11 have never been suspended in their school careers.

Graduate Speaker Gracie Smith is one of those who is graduating on time, though she didn’t think she would be when she started at ACES.

“I was quiet, shy and awkward, and I didn’t have many friends,” she said. “I missed a lot of school, and when I was here I wasn’t trying very hard. I had no confidence in myself. I always wanted help.

“I have changed a lot thanks to the love and support of our amazing teachers and my fellow classmates. I know they [our teachers] are the reason we are graduating today.”

Graduate Speaker Mitchell Yates told his fellow graduates that life does not get easier after high school.

“Anybody who says otherwise is lying to you,” he said. “However, you, as a beautifully crafted individual, get stronger.”

Graduate Speaker Alma Romero Delgado said that although graduation feels like an ending, it’s actually a beginning.

“The future is not something we enter, but something we create,” she said. “Our destination is the result of what we do right now. So all I ask of you is to take this accomplishment as motivation to keep trying.

“Nothing worthwhile comes easy, but this graduation has already shown us that we can do anything if really put our minds to it.”

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