Class of 2021 Graduation
May 25th, 2021
Category:The Compass Way
On Saturday, May 21, at the Gardens on Spring Creek, Compass's first graduating class turned their tassels. Congratulations Malachai B, Lily C, Lucille G, Laisa G, Jonathan L, Francesca M, Kaelyn P, John R, Lucas R, Kameron H, Maia S, Lewis T, Alaina W, Gabriela A*, and Mia A*, YOU DID IT!
School Leader's Commencement Address
"What a glorious morning! Thank you all for being here to celebrate this important milestone in the lives of these young people and our young school. Thank you also for all that you have done to help get us here—
• Compass staff and board—for the tireless hours and the continuous creativity, research, and generosity it takes to be educators and educational entrepreneurs.
• Families and friends—for the encouragement you have provided your children through the tumultuous teen years and for the courage you modeled in choosing a new and different path of education for your students.
• Students—for your curiosity, humor, open-hearts, and honest feedback that helped us build this tremendous school for our community.
Graduating from high school is a big achievement under any circumstances, but to have helped start and then have helped iterate on improvements for this brand new, innovative school as part of that journey is a notable accomplishment. The colleges and gap year programs that you applied to DID notice - this as well as the many other ways in which you are standout candidates. Collectively, this inaugural class has been accepted to 19 different colleges and universities across the country (and Canada), and has earned over $340,000 in scholarships. Before arriving on this stage, the class of 2021 started clothing and music businesses, traveled the world as part of gap year programs, earned college credit in English and mathematics, and so successfully engaged in internships with local nonprofits, science firms, art venues, animal shelters, and in health care that most of these unpaid internships led to job offers for continued employment. This is the promise of an innovative educational model!
This is also a beautiful example of what emotional intelligence and resilience looks like- because, as we are all painfully aware, this incredible growth and skill development happened in spite of the worldwide pandemic that seriously disrupted our “normal” pattern of school life during the last 15 months. Isolation and uncertainty took a toll. People we love got sick. News reports were dire. The pandemic highlighted widespread institutional racism in our country, it made more dramatic the growing divisiveness and polarization in our political landscape, and it gave us the time to consider the implications of climate change as the skies darkened and ash rained down on Fort Collins from catastrophic wildfires nearby.
Was it hard? You bet. But you prevailed. Together, we all prevailed, and we have learned. We have learned that not ONE of us can be responsible for solving ALL of the problems our world faces, but EACH one of us must be responsible for working toward solutions for SOME of the problems our world faces. We have been reminded that this planet, the human societies that inhabit it, and our individual lives are less like a clock and more like a cloud - ever changing, responsive to complex energy patterns, and not as separate and discrete as we would like to imagine. We are here together, and as our frequent Compass Circles symbolize, we are all connected.
I am sure I speak for all of us here today, Compass staff, parents, grandparents, and friends, that what we all wish for you is that you continue to develop and use all of the unique gifts, aptitudes, and interests that you have and use them to do good in this world. We wish for you that as you look back on the support of your families and teachers to help you get to this stage that you honor those efforts by putting your whole heart into finding fulfillment through service as you continue your education, explore professions, and grow families.
When, against all odds, we opened the doors of Compass Community Collaborative School three years ago, it was with the greatest sense of optimism that we could make a difference in the lives of children and families, and that one child at a time we could make the world a better place. I still hold that optimism. And now, I entrust it to you. Carry the beautiful questions, courage, and skills that you have out into the world to tell your story. Be part of creating a new and better story for our world - a story of interdependence, connection, and growth in which all living things flourish and thrive.
High school graduation marks the beginning of adulthood. It is not for the faint of heart, but it is for you—you—kind, caring, courageous, emotionally intelligent, articulate, design-thinkers, each and every one of you."