Perseverance pays off: Summer school grads walk across the stage

Published 2:06 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2022

LAPLACE — Sixteen St. John the Baptist Parish scholars who didn’t have the necessary credits to graduate in May persevered through summer school and were applauded as they triumphantly walked across the stage on July 29.

The newest members of the Class of 2022 are Jadin Broussard, Dartania Crouch, Adriana Gonzales-Crespo, Reyna Hernandez-Melendez, Rodrigo Hernandez-Reyes, Angel Herrera, Keyshell Joseph, Joshua LaGrange, Kaylie Lennix, Kylie Lennix, Keedyn Lumar, Keir Lumar, Claudia Martinez-Rosales, Keevon Parquet, Dylan Simoneaux and Jamillion Smith.

The summer commencement ceremony was held inside the Lake Pontchartrain Elementary cafeteria. In attendance were family, friends and district officials who emphasized that the ability to persevere through difficult circumstances is no small feat.

Interim Superintendent Rebecca Johnson defined perseverance as “doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.”

“As I walked in today, I felt just as much joy or even more than I felt when I walked into the graduation in May,” Johnson said. “This event symbolizes that you did it. You persevered more than any other student could have ever done – through COVID, virtual learning and Hurricane Ida, when for a while you didn’t even know where you would be going to school. No matter your difficulty, trials or tribulations, you made it to graduation.”

School Board President Nia Mitchell-Williams agreed that the 2021-22 school year was one of the most difficult years in the history of the school district.

“We have to acknowledge that 80% of the homes in our district received some sort of storm damage. We’re all in different phases of the rebuilding process, but we are all rebuilding,” Mitchell-Williams said.

As key note speaker for the graduation, Mitchell-Williams shared advice that she would have benefitted from as an 18-year-old, with common themes revolving around honoring your family, giving yourself grace and setting actionable goals every year.

East St. John Principal David Lewis was proud of the students for seeing summer school through and getting the job done. He expects each of the graduates to aim high in their future endeavors.

“Parents, family, participants, board members, as well as all the residents of St. John the Baptist Parish – this is our future,” Lewis said.