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18 Students Graduate From Salt River Accelerated Learning Academy

(Top) (L-R) Cody Smith, Santos Nino, Angelo Williams, Salvador Bejarano and Marco Cruz. (Middle) (L-R) Adam Perez, Lenae Mott-Antone, JunHaMa Scott and Rachel Chee. (Bottom) (L-R) Pearl Schurz, Deion Barraza, Aria Dixson, Kali Joaquin and Char-Rae Romo. Not all graduates are in the photo.

A new journey for 18 students at the Salt River Accelerated Learning Academy (ALA) began on June 28 as the ALA celebrated its class of 2017 with commencement at the Salt River Community Building.

The roughly two-hour event included a speech by class valedictorian Pearl Schurz and student speaker JunHaMa Scott. ALA Administrator MaryAnn Wood shared opening remarks and presented the diplomas.

“I want to wish each and every one of my peers success in whatever their heart desires, and a future full of laughter and love,” Schurz said. “I’m not going to say a ‘perfect’ future, because I know, out of all people, that no one and nothing is perfect. I’m not going to say a ‘promised’ future, because I know nothing is promised to any of us. We are all adults now, and we just have to continue to go out in this world and earn everything we want in life.”

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Council member Deanna Scabby was the keynote speaker and Council member Archie Kashoya was the guest speaker. President Delbert W. Ray, Sr., Vice-President Martin Harvier, and Council members Thomas Largo and David Antone were also in attendance.

Two former ALA students shared traditional songs in honor of the graduates.

“Remember when your grandparents and parents would say, ‘Get up early, get ready for the day, you never know what the day will bring’?” Scott said. “Well, this is what they were talking about. Some days will be a struggle, [but] remain positive and tell yourself that you can do it, even if someone tries to say you can’t. You will make mistakes, and that’s OK; don’t get discouraged. We will learn from our mistakes, keep trying and never give up. I can’t say that enough. Never give up.”

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