ARLINGTON – For a small and resilient graduating class, more than half the students from Weston High School are headed off to college, while the rest are entering the trades, the military or pursuing careers as licensed professionals.
“Our students, your children, grandchildren, neighbors, and friends, have already laid out their plans for their futures,” Principal Will Nelson said. “Some are either immediately going into college and universities, or waiting a year to build a financial foundation before entering.”
The students’ career tracks are diverse: business management, culinary arts, composite materials, metal worker, language and ASL interpreters, genetic biologist, paralegal, writer, veterinarian, massage therapist, longshoreman, the medical field and even a prospective body piercer.
With student Alexis Myers guiding the turning of the tassels, raucous cheers and mortar boards grabbing air to the sounds of Pharrell Williams’ tune “Happy,” the Weston Class of 2019 graduated Wednesday night at their commencement ceremony in the Byrnes Performing Arts Center.
Parents, family, friends, district leaders and staff cheered as graduates accepted their diplomas. The ceremony also honored graduates from the Alternative Online and Open Doors programs.
For Nelson, this was his last graduation as Weston principal. He is moving into the district office as Director of Student and School Success. Andrea Dixon is the incoming principal, and Karrie Marsh will take over as Assistant Principal.
To recognize the change in leaders, the student started a new tradition at Weston that aligns with anthropological rites and traditions. They had presented Nelson, who is a Blackfeet Tribe member born on the reservation, with a spirit stick that represents leading with great spirit, devotion, and respect to the school’s students. Leaving his role as principal, he passed it onto Dixon at the graduation.
Nelson told the graduates to go out in the world, make their mark, work hard toward goals and find success.
“And be kind – kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see,” he said. “I leave our school in great hands, knowing that you will care, support, respect and love each student and staff that crosses your path.
“You are destined to lead well and do great things,” Nelson said.
Superintendent Chrys Sweeting congratulated graduates on their impressive educational milestone, and encouraged them to be prepared for the next leg of their learning journey.
“As you move into your next life adventure, this learning journey is the beginning of a new one,” she said. “Consider who you are, believe in yourself, laugh, learn from mistakes, be kinder than necessary, never give up and always pursue your dreams.