Some students breeze through high school, succeeding on all fronts, but most struggle in some capacity at one point or another. One teenager might excel academically and falter socially, while another exhibits the inverse characteristics.
Skyview High School’s graduation ceremony on Monday, May 23, boasted all sorts of students, including those who overcame learning disabilities and other developmental obstacles to get to this nexus of their educational career.
Lane Kreider, 18, was surrounded by his buddies that Monday night, hanging out in the back room of the Sports Center. Kreider is dyslexic and of his own admission cannot read or write as well as he would like.
“I feel wonderful and I’m glad to get this over with,” Kreider said of graduating from Skyview. “High school has been a struggle, and I’m very glad to be done. I’m glad I made it.”
Kreider plans to attend a heavy equipment operating school and pursue photography as a hobby on the side, although he would like to get into photojournalism if possible.
Nicole Reid, 18, actually accomplished enough academically to graduate early if she so chose, but making friends throughout life was hard for a long time, she said.
Reid grew up with Asberger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder characterized by a difficulties with social interaction. Reid said that focusing on excelling at the flute sustained her when she had a hard time making friends. She was named first chair for flute on the Peninsula during her high school tenure, and hopes to pursue flute performance and education during her college career.
Regardless of the challenges students had to overcome to get to the point of high school graduation, many of them are aware that there are far more ominous obstacles looming in the future.
“I’m scared to graduate,” admitted Allyssa Mattox, 18. “The real world is so different than what you’re used to. You have a sense of security going to high school, and then getting out in the real world…it’s all thrown at you at once. It’s really scary, and I’m not ready yet.”
Mattox joked that she went so far as to ask her teachers to hold her back so she could remain at Skyview indefinitely. Instead, she will leave Alaska in October to attend the Washington-based International Airline and Hospitality Academy. She hopes to travel the world as a flight attendant.
Then there were others who had the exact opposite reaction to graduation as Mattox, including Alicia West, 17.
“I’m really excited that high school is over,” West said. “I’m excited to head off to college, have my own life, get out of my parents’ house.”
West is going to the University of Alaska Anchorage to study sports medicine and physical therapy.
“It’s everyone’s dream to be out on your own and experience things for yourself,” she said.
“Get scared and get excited and just do it on your own. Grow up.”