Crossroads graduates 19 Thursday night
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The Crossroads High School’s class of 2018-2019 graduates crossed the stage on Thursday evening at Lea Ledger Auditorium to receive their high school diplomas.
A total of 19 marched to the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance” and participated in the ceremony.
After the Copperas Cove High School JROTC posted the colors, James Irick, principal of Crossroads High School, welcomed the Copperas Cove Independent School District board of trustees and administration to the ceremony, along with friends and family of the graduates.
Irick shared the stories of several of the students who faced challenges and overcame them in order to graduate, among them one student who learned about learning from consequences.
“My first interaction was hearing his mom, as Mrs. Whitis took a phone call from her – ‘I don’t care, he’s too far behind and I need him there now,’” Irick said. “He eventually stepped it up and began working to complete his credits. Although we are self-paced, we do have an expectation that students will complete their credits in a certain amount of time.”
The student faced and learned from the consequence of having to restart and repeat a course.
Irick said the student has a bright future as a rapper.
“I’m going on record now, take care of your mama and buy her a house, and I want a 4 by 4 diesel pickup, with leather and special navigation, because I’m going to be lost without you,” Irick quipped.
Another student came in focused and had the same dedication on her last day that she did on her first day, and she accomplished the feat of completing six credits in less than two weeks.
“I use her story now as an example when students come to interview for the school for possible admission to Crossroads,” Irick said, adding that she was unable to walk the stage that evening as she was going to be a brand-new mom.
Irick said there always seems to be one student in each graduating class who waits until the last minute to complete their credits.
“This student finished 10 minutes before school let out today,” Irick said. “She worked last night, got off her job at 11, went home and worked on assignment until 2 a.m., then got to school on time. That’s a big thing for all our students, to get to school on time. she then finished the rest of her credits…She will be successful at whatever she does.”
He then encouraged the students to consider the impact they can have on someone by way of “lollipop moments,” referring to a TED talk on the topic of everyday leadership. The speaker, Drew Dudley, shared about an impact he unknowingly had on a college freshman who was unsure of her decision to be in college.
“He looked the guy next to her and hands him a lollipop and told him, ‘You should give it to the beautiful girl standing next to you.’” Irick said Dudley then told her parents who were in line with her, she’s away from home one day and she’s already taking candy from a stranger. At that, everyone laughed and she realized she was in the right place. Dudley forgot the incident, but she never forgot it and told him about it years later.
“My point is, you don’t realize the impact you’re going to have on people, just the little things that you do can have an impact.”
Irick also shared how he had moments of wondering if he’d had an impact on his students, that he had been down on himself and about his ability at Crossroads. Then an article came out about him, a spotlight piece on the campus, and then one of his prior students visited the campus during break.
“Go out every day and have that lollipop moment. It does not matter how big you think it is, just have one…if you made it through this, you can make it through anything. We know your worth and your abilities and we expect nothing less than the best. Go make some lollipop moments.”
He then turned things over to CCISD superintendent Joe Burns for remarks about the students.
Burns told the students that they have demonstrated two exceptional qualities that will take them far, if they remember those qualities - perseverance and resilience.
“Everyone doesn’t get to the same point in life the same way. I remember a quote by Winston Churchill. ‘Success is not final and failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.’ Perseverance and resilience will take you a long, long way.”
He shared statistics for “millennials,” who will have as many as 15-20 jobs in their working career and as many as five before age 32.
Burns also encouraged the students to continue to learn.
“I didn’t say get an education, I said continue to learn. Continue to develop skillsets, augment your skills, enhance your skills, and develop new skills. Because the workforce and jobs out there are changing.” He told the graduates that the top 10 jobs in the Central Texas area do not require a college degree and out of the top 10, seven do not require anything but a certificate.
“You can make a good living and a great life without a four-year degree,” Burns said. “There is dignity in all work. There is opportunity for everyone.”
Diamante Jackson was one of the 19 who graduated. He is 20 years old and spent two years on the campus, completing the requirements for a high school diploma.
“When I submitted (my essay) the first time, they didn’t accept it. Then I got with my teacher, and she helped me, told me some things I was missing from my story. She helped me pass the essay and she taught me how to write my essay. And that’s a history teacher, not an English teacher.”
He found the motivation to persevere to the end, after having one of his classes reset. He said he then redid the class and sped through the others.
“Just seeing my other friends not in school with me, made me see I needed to do what I had to do to get out of here, it’s not time to joke around,” Jackson said. “My mom told me, you can do it, put your back into it, as Ice Cube said in one of his songs.”
Jackson has his focus set on going on to college and studying video game design and also pursuing his dream of a career in music.
Lila Konz also received her diploma on Thursday night, along with celebrating her 18th birthday.
She hasn’t been at Crossroads long and said her reason for completing her studies at the campus is so she could graduate sooner.
“It took a lot of research and a lot of background knowledge,” Konz said of completing her entrance essay for Crossroads. “It was a 10-page essay, but mine came out to be 16 pages. (I’m) an overachiever, I guess. That’s kind of why I’m at Crossroads. I wanted to graduate early.”
Konz starts her first semester at Central Texas College this week and is enrolled as a psychology major, with the goal of being a therapist. Konz said that CTC representatives came to the Crossroads campus and helped students get enrolled.
Thursday night’s Crossroads High School graduates included Elizabeth Brown, James Carter, Makayla Cirilo, Ashley Coleman, Jaden Deal, Hannah Edwards, Crystal French, Daniel Goodson-Pace, Karli Harrison, Kaitlyn Hart, Diamante Jackson, Lila Konz, Rudie McIntire, Michael Miller, Nyla Parson, Dana Phelps, Cloe’ Ponder, Michaela Rubedor, Manuel Smallwood.