When Anthony Griffin first arrived at Fusion Charter, he admitted that he didn’t have any hope for graduating.
Unbeknownst to Griffin at the time was that only a few years later he would be speaking as the 12th grade speaker in front of the first graduating class of Fusion Charter.
During his speech, Griffin spoke about his appreciation for the teachers at Fusion Charter, including how they “talked to him and not at him,” the advice they gave, and most importantly, the fact that they never gave up on him.
“That’s the type of school that we have. We have a school where the teachers care,” said Griffin. “I know from what I learned is that if I keep knocking on doors and I keep trying, I will make it. We will make it.
“Class of 2015 has a brighter future because of Fusion Charter,” continued Griffin. “This school gave us something all of the other schools couldn’t: a chance.”
Fusion Charter is an independent charter school under the partnership of Aspiranet and Turlock Unified School District. The school provides a unique educational opportunity for at-risk students in grades 7 through 12 who live in Stanislaus and Merced County.
Principal Siobhan Hanna thanked staff, family, and friends for their hard work in helping ten students graduate high school and promoting 23 eighth graders to high school during the commencement ceremony on Thursday.
“This has been an amazing year, but a fast year. It seems like just yesterday I was speaking at Open House,” said Hanna. “Watching these students grow, change and mature has been an exciting experience.”
“To be in the position they are in right now is unbelievable and I am proud of each and every one of you and the hard work you have put forth to get here,” added Hanna.
As guest speaker, Mayor Gary Soiseth gave the graduating class some advice, reflecting on his time in Afghanistan and his path that ultimately led him to his position as Mayor.
Soiseth encouraged students to keep their eyes open for opportunities that present themselves, whether it was mentoring a struggling student, volunteering to get groceries for an elderly neighbor, or pursuing a career path that may not pay a lot, but would leave a mark on the community.
“You guys worked really hard to get here, but don’t rest on those accomplishments just yet,” said Soiseth. “If you stop and look hard enough you will see that there are even more opportunities for you to accomplish even greater feats in the future.”
Other speakers during Thursday’s ceremony were Aspiranet CEO Vernon Brown, eighth grade speaker Chase Summerlot, Evelyn Rojas from the Office of Assembly Member Kristin Olson, and CASA of Stanislaus County Executive Director Steve Ashman, who donated two computers to Griffin and Samuel Anthony Chavoya.