Niles non-traditional programs graduate Class of 2023

Published 2:05 pm Wednesday, May 31, 2023

NILES — Dozens of friends, family and community members gathered at Michiana Christian Embassy, 1922 E. Main St., Niles, Tuesday night as 57 graduates from Niles Adult Education, Niles Cedar Lane, WAY Niles and Niles Virtual School were able to be recognized for their hard work and call themselves high school graduates.

“I just want to say that I’m proud of you,” said Niles Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Dan Applegate. “I really hope you realize how amazing you are. Where others have fallen, you’ve overcome obstacles and broke through a lot of barriers to be here today. You represent all the reasons why we have alternative programs… Future generations will succeed because of you.”

Northside Child Development Center/Southside School Principal Shawn Major-Winston was the night’s guest speaker and touched on a variety of topics including confidence and perseverance.

“The gift you received today should be sweeter than honey since you gave it all plus more,” he said. “Even when you thought you had nothing left to obtain this gift. Hold on to it and remember this day when you’re facing those dark times. Keep going, keep those skills of communication, timeliness, resilience and self advocacy. Speak up for yourself and be an advocate for others.”

Anna Bockheim of Lake Michigan College was on hand to present Malissa Bradford with a $1,000 Adult Education Scholarship. Prior to the presentation of graduates, the students were invited to the podium to dedicate their achievements to friends, teachers and family members.

Aleah Thornnton was the class’ student speaker and congratulated her classmates and encouraged them to accomplish their goals.

“Each and every graduate worked extremely hard to get here,” she said. “All of us had obstacles we had to overcome to make it to this moment. We should be extremely proud of ourselves for achieving milestones.”