Farewell – Class of 2021
There may be no better time of the year that defines us here at The Center for Discovery®.
Our courage — to pursue absolutely everyone’s dreams…
Our boldness — to believe in the seemingly impossible…
Our strength — to stand only in the world of possibility and opportunity…
Our love – for all of humanity regardless of complexity…
Our ability — to take on adversity with fierceness, devotion, diligence, and compassion shines so brightly.
And what shines more brightly than that are our graduates!
This year, we graduated 56 students and residents across the four schools that make up our campus.
We’ve been graduating students for more than 40 years, but this year, it was different. Maybe due to the pandemic, or perhaps the state of the world or both, 2021 was a markedly deeper experience.
Because of ongoing safety restrictions, three separate ceremonies were held outside for the first time, and the graduates’ peers, teachers, clinicians, and others instead lined pathways to cheer on their procession like cheerleaders at a championship game! And that’s exactly what it felt like – championship energy — as everyone did their thing and danced, clapped, or jumped up and down! No worries about fidgeting in seats, it was pure and fully expressed joy.
Our parents received a wonderful collaborative video of the ceremonies, including a commencement speech by our President, Dr. Terry Hamlin, the song “You Will Be Found” from the Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack – performed by our Music Therapy team, a picture montage of the graduates, and of course each graduate’s official “cap and gown headshot.”
“Over the years, our graduates have learned the most essential lessons in life: to have confidence in themselves, to love themselves, and to persevere when faced with seemingly unsurmountable challenges,” Dr. Hamlin said, “These lessons will carry them way beyond what they’ve achieved academically as they enter into this new phase of their lives.”
Each one of the 56 graduates with complex conditions, such as autism, has matured, advanced, conquered incredible hurdles and developed into amazing young adults before our eyes. As we’ve walked with them on their journey to adulthood, they have taught us, too. They have taught us true resilience and the depth of the human spirit. They’ve taught us how critical compassion and love are – every day, all day long. They have taught us priceless lessons about the human experience in all its beautiful forms. And, we are forever grateful to them.
“I saw the hope for the future as this group of graduates marched past me with the knowledge of all they have achieved and the understanding that they will never be alone, TCFD Chief of Education Kerri Muzuruk said, “Graduation is always bittersweet, but there is an exhilarating feeling knowing that the graduates have gained the skills and independence necessary to be successful wherever they go!”
Hundreds of people have touched the lives of our 56 graduates through their years. We’d like to acknowledge and thank all of our teams. Here at The Center, we believe in each other and work with and for each other. We like to say our soil sprouts possibility. What a lesson for the rest of the world. Just look at those 56 smiles! The world is so lucky to have them!
Congratulations to our Class of 2021!
Click on an image below to view the slideshow