RANDOLPH As the school year winds to a close, eight of Randolph Academy's 12 graduates are looking forward to taking the next step in their education.
Randolph Academy graduated 12 of its students at a commencement ceremony Thursday night. Prior to the ceremony, several students looked back at their careers at the school.
Tanyk'e is the youngest person, at the age of 17, that participated in the graduation ceremony, and is very proud of that fact.
"It's been a long year for me, but I'm really glad that I actually made it to my senior year. Actually, honestly, if it wasn't for this school or my county worker saying I needed to come here, I don't know where I'd be," Tanyk'e said.
Being at Randolph Academy helped Tanyk'e realize that she was tired of getting into trouble, forcing her to change many of her attitudes.
"There's no point in being miserable at this time in your life. You've only got one life to live, and life's too short to be miserable," Tanyk'e said.
Tanyk'e gave the class address in front of an audience that included her grandmother, who took the day off of work specifically to see her granddaughter graduate.
"She's going to come to see me walk across the stage. I'm her first grandchild to walk across the stage. And, I'm my dad's first kid to walk. So, that's always good for everybody. Just thinking about it gets me so excited," Tanyk'e said.
Tanyk'e has big plans after graduation. This fall, she will be attending Jamestown Community College to study criminal justice. Someday, she hopes to be a criminal attorney.
"I've always had that type of dream since I was 9. It's just something I've always wanted to do. I want to do my two years at JCC, then attend the marines for about four years, and then go to law school," Tanyk'e said.
Valedictorian Eva also spent time reflecting on the two years that she has spent at Randolph Academy. She said that being in Randolph is a big change from New York City, where she grew up.
"To tell you the truth, I don't know where this past year has gone. I thought my mom was lying when she said everything was going to go by so fast once I got to senior year. It really has just flown by," Eva said.
Graduating, for Eva, is an experience that she calls bittersweet.
"I've been here for a while, and it's far away from my home. I miss my mom. But, at the same time, I've grown so close to a lot of the teachers here and I'm friends with students. But, it's something that I need to do. There comes a time in everybody's life where you have to move on and get to know different people, and I guess it's my time right now," Eva said.
Being at Randolph Academy has helped Eva to learn patience and to ignore negative things from other people.
"It's my day to shine. I've worked very, very, very, very hard to get here, and I'm proud of what I've done. Regardless of what anybody might say about me, I'm happy with who I am, and I'm happy with what I've done, and I'm happy with where I'm going," Eva said.
Next year, Eva will be joining Tanyk'e at JCC, however she is planning on studying early childhood development in order to someday become a kindergarten teacher or a counselor to teenagers. She is also pursuing cosmetology.
"Eight of our 12 graduates have college plans," said Brad Sande, board of education president. "That is the highest number we have ever had, so we are excited about that."
The additional four students that graduated intend to enter the workforce.
Graduation included a commencement address by Whitney Emke, a 2008 graduate. Several awards and scholarships were awarded to students as well.