Photos by Sue Moore and Brian Freiberger.
By Steven Fryling
So we find ourselves once again in “graduation” season; a time when young people are excited and anxious about what is to come and the older among us wistfully consider the scope of a person’s life and what these things mean, often while sitting under a canopy in a backyard somewhere, munching on ham sandwiches and graduation cake.
So what does a “graduation” mean? Nowadays, schools have graduations anywhere from preschool or kindergarten graduation to middle and high school graduation, to college graduation, as well as graduation from various programs or activities. I have heard retirement referred to as a graduation. Perhaps at these events, a gold watch is the substitute for a diploma. At a recent funeral for a relative, I was told she “graduated” to the next level as well.
Perhaps it is best not to think of the idea of graduation as a ceremony and more as a rite of passage, a milestone or reflection point in life. As an educator for 33 years, I have seen many of my colleagues retire, which happens at the same time as high school graduation. I have observed with them that these times are like the “bridges” in life; you are on the highway and you go over a bridge, but it is at the bridge you look out the car window and admire the view. While most of the days of a life are filled with seeing just what is ahead on the road in front, a bridge invites you to look from side to side and say, “what a great ride.”
Being an educator, I have heard more graduation speeches than I care to count. I even gave one once. I always like Charlie Glaes’ speeches, delivered at Vicksburg’s graduation. While typical remarks note what is ahead and behind the graduates, Charlie also makes us look from “side to side” as the students cross the bridge and helps us enjoy the ride. I have noted that he makes similar remarks at retirement ceremonies, which I find fitting.
Let’s face a fact; high school graduation and a diploma no longer mean what they used to mean. When I was a kid in the 70s, graduation was, for many, the last stop on the journey in formal education. Folks went on to work at Upjohn and Fisher Body and Continental Can (none of which exist anymore). Today, high school graduation is a place where many young people figure out that they are only part way to the goal of sustainable employment and the “American dream” lifestyle; it is simply a first step toward a degree or training in certificate, or the military, or a trade school or apprenticeship.
So what’s the takeaway here? In our culture where we have no ceremonial rite of adulthood (unless you are Jewish, Hispanic or Native American), we often thrust high school graduation into this role. To me, this time of year for many 17-19 year olds serves a mighty purpose. While it no longer declares students ready to enter most job fields, it does demand that we all step back, look side to side, and admire the only journey that we are ever going to be on.
This annual Schoolcraft Schools Alumni Association banquet will celebrate the 2017 graduates of Schoolcraft High School and honor the class celebrating its 50th anniversary. Anyone who attended or graduated from Schoolcraft Schools is cordially invited to attend on Saturday, June 24.
At the banquet, scholarships awarded to six current high school graduates by the Alumni Association will be announced. They are Taylor Bell, Jason Feddema, Madison Hybels, Erin Seager, Megan West and Sophia Woodhams. There will be a short program after dinner.
The banquet will be held in the Schoolcraft High School cafeteria with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30. Attendees are asked to bring a generous dish to share. Table service, coffee and punch will provided. Those who graduated in 2017 or 1967 may choose to bring a dish or just sit back and enjoy the party, said Sue Hendriksma, who is helping to organize the event. A fee of $10 per person will be collected to support the costs of mailings and events, and there will also be a short business meeting after the program.
Members of the Alumni Association executive committee include Judy Shelley Oliphant, Aaron Beery, Sue Bates Hendriksma, Bryon Balch, Daniall Davis Poulsen, Betsy Rice and Renae Budrow Schug. The Association encourages people to invite classmates, family, and fellow alumni to attend.
By Brian Freiberger
Schoolcraft Elementary hosted its first-ever Innovation Day in May, letting students explore innovation through technology and creativity with special classrooms and activities.
Activities at Innovation Day included a pirate boat challenge where students design a small boat out of tinfoil and see how many pennies they can put in it until it sinks. Students designed a cardboard playground for a miniature robot called the Ozobot. In another classroom, students used tablets to read digital codes to gather information about birds.
“We take a lot of pride that we use technology when it’s appropriate,” said Schoolcraft Elementary Principal Matt Webster.
The day also touched on the creative side, allowing students to unleash their inner Andy Warhol by coloring pictures of themselves and designing a toothpick tower with play-doh.
The two main goals of Innovation Day were to allow students a choice over all three of their sessions and to give teachers an opportunity to go to different classrooms and observe a colleague teaching something different during the day, according to Webster.
“Choice and voice is the big reason why we are doing this,” said Matt McCullough, innovation director at Schoolcraft.
“Teachers learn from each other; they get to circulate around the building and learn about more open-ended projects,” said McCullough about the importance of collaboration among teachers.
Webster told a story about a child who was a little too eager for Innovation Day that morning, “A mom heard the child up earlier than normal, so she went to go check on him. He was awake with his backpack on at 7 a.m., getting ready to go to Innovation Day. She had to tell him school doesn’t happen for another hour.”