WORDS FROM THE SUP’T: Grads display many achievements

The end of the school year brings countless opportunities for our community to celebrate the amazing accomplishments of our young people.
It is also a chance for us collectively to pause and share gratitude for all of those in our community who contribute to these accomplishments.
This year’s senior class represents an awe inspiring display of achievements. Our Team RUSH Robotics, Future Problem Solvers (two teams), Video Production Team, and Chamber Orchestra each achieved state championships.
Evan Scott and Jillian Ritchie placed first in the state in Business Professionals of America competitions, and Jillian is a national champion.
Our 685 seniors achieved over $5 million in college scholarships for their hard work, achievements, and contributions. Our senior graduates will attend colleges in 16 states.
At least two will take gap years—one to Europe and the other hiking the Appalachian Trail with her father. One student will attend the Air Force Academy and many others will enter the military directly after high school.
Four students, Jillian Ritchey, Diana Marsala, Erin McNeil, and Ethan Ames, are National Merit Scholar Finalists.
Two students, Lawrence Zahner and Jillian Ritchey, are Presidential Scholar nominees with Jillian advancing as a Semifinalist and receiving a nomination for Scholar as Career and Technical Education Candidate.
Advanced Studies, International Baccalaureate, CSMTech, Career and Technical Education, and dual enrollment efforts afforded many of our students college credit in high school.
More than 90 percent of our graduates will attend college.
In Career and Technical Education, Clarkston is a state leader, outpacing most other school districts with 133 Professional Certifications.
In Oakland County, 130 percent more of Clarkston’s students participate in Career and Technical Education than any other district, even those that are twice our size.
We know that perseverance, character, and mindset represent critical skills for goal achievement in school and in life.
Many of our students have overcome personal health and life struggles as they have achieved in school.
As I observe our students, I am truly in awe of all that they have accomplished.
I have seen them doing homework at the back of the auditorium during siblings’ concerts; kicking long field-goals in the summer; studying at awards ceremonies; participating in countless clubs and athletic teams; and competing on weekends as gymnasts, computer programmers, engineers, and dancers.
I have heard their stories of tutoring younger kids, contributing to the lives of students in other communities, and appreciating the opportunities they have had here in our town.
Mostly, I have heard of the differences made in their lives by teachers, coaches, classmates, parents, and countless community members who believed in them.
It truly takes a village to raise a child. The City of the Village of Clarkston, Independence Township, and Springfield Township should feel very good about the children we are raising.
Congratulations and thank you.
Dr. Rod Rock is superintendent of Clarkston Community Schools