by: Katie Writer – KTNA
There were 27 Susitna Valley high school graduates this year with over $200,000 of scholarships awarded to the senior class.
Most of the awarded scholarships were academic and principal David Booth applauds the teachers and staff for enabling this shared success.
“We’re at 96.4% graduation rate this year. Really what is shows is when a staff works together and they offer as much as they can to their kids, that our students here really can do what they can what they could do at a large school and they can earn those scholarships. We’re an absolutely high performing school.”
Among the graduation speakers were co-valedictorians Mitchel Jurasec and Deborah Johnston as well as Gaby Faurot.
Mitchel Jurasec receive a full ride scholarship to Bowdein, which is located in Brunswick, Maine.
He said, “The main things that I shared with my class within my speech is that really the community that we have grown up in and also the teachers that we’ve had at Su Valley, which are just great….those are the people that we really should get advice from. I just reminded them of some pieces of advice that our teachers had shared with us. Our teachers here, they really care about us.”
Deborah Johnston received several academic scholarships that will used towards a Bachelor Degree in nursing.
In her speech, she says, “I talked about how hard work actually pays off and mostly that believing in yourself is really important and if you can do both of those, then you can go anywhere.”
Gaby Faruot, who also receive academic scholarships, expressed how happy she felt on graduation day.
“I had a speech and I was really nervous at first, but as soon as I looked out at people, I felt more comfortable. I talked about some of the memories that our class had and gave a few pieces of advice for the future.I plan to attend the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. I am going to be studying environmental sciences with hopes of becoming an environmental engineer.”
All three students shared pearls of both wisdom and appreciation in their speeches, including a theme of community support.
Principal Booth said of the graduates, “Every single students hand that I shook, I had had tons of personal interaction with during the year. And some of those kids that were at risk of not graduating, we had entire teams of teachers helping to motivate and support and to make sure that those kids got through. All of those people teaming together, that is how we are successful.”
Even though Su Valley is considered a small school, they have a considerably higher graduation rate than the state average.