'For some of us, this is goodbye'Published 11:08pm Thursday, June 3, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
There are several similar themes that apply to a graduation ceremony: thoughts of accomplishment and a look to the future, grade point averages and coming-of-age experiences.
But for Jessica Miller, one of many Niles area graduates this year, graduation is about family.
The Cedar Lane graduating senior put her feelings into words when she addressed family, friends and attendants at Cedar Lane’s graduation ceremony May 26.
“Family as defined by Webster’s (dictionary) is a group of people connected by blood or marriage,” she said. “But at Cedar Lane family has a whole different meaning. We have grown, laughed, cried, learned and worked together.
“Our family is growing up and moving on,” Miller said. “For some of us, this is goodbye.”
Miller is one of 31 Cedar Lane class of 2010 graduates. Jenny Wolford, assistant to principal Rich Klem, said the class is a little bit smaller than last year. Students who attend the alternative high school receive a Niles High School diploma.
Today is the last day of school for remaining students.
“We only require 20 credits and that’s why we get a lot of students,” Wolford said. “Because they’re just short from the number of credits they need to graduate from a regular high school.”
For students at the school, going to class is about more than just earning credits and doing homework.
At Cedar Lane, students are often engaged in making an impact on their community – something that left an impact on Miller.
“‘Reaching for the Reins’ is a program where Cedar Lane students teach emotionally impaired students from Lighthouse Education Center to ride and groom horses,” she said. “Cedar Lane Students also participate in Adopt-A-Family.”
The school is also known for spearheading Niles Gives Big, a charity event in which the community comes together to benefit a district family in need.
The event gained national attention when it was featured on “Oprah.”
And it is with a sense of family, Miller said, that Cedar Lane students grow and give back.
“Some of us are going to college,” Miller said. “Others are starting jobs. Some of us might even start our own families. We have all grown and changed.
“We will make a positive difference in the world,” she said. “The Cedar Lane family will be successful.”