Home-school graduates celebrate diverse interests

Vincent Michael Giandonato, left, accepts his diploma from Alan Espinoza, president of the Mesa Valley Vision., Inc., board of stewards during Wednesday’s graduation ceremony at the Roper Music ballroom.


Vision Class of 2012:

* Sarah Chandler Bailey

* Lauryn Renae Barnes

* Hannah Karren Cook

* Vincent Michael Giandonato

* Robin Emily Harkins

* Maddison Margaret McGee

* Chad Edward Minning

* Kathleen Marie Pierson

* Ashley Renee Smith

* Marissa Ashley Stobbe

* Rebecca Mary Taber

* Krysti Jean Thompson

* Katelynn Marie Watkins

* Trisha Ann Yeager

Members of the Mesa Valley Vision Home and Community Program class of 2012 studied Greek, Chinese, French and Spanish, completed Advanced Placement classes without the aid of a classroom teacher, worked everywhere from a cattle ranch to a nursing home and earned a total of three certified nursing assistant certificates.

Wednesday afternoon, 10 of the 14 members of Vision’s fourth graduating class marked another achievement when they participated in a graduation ceremony at Roper Music Ballroom. Each student received a School District 51 diploma because the district oversees the home-school program.

New Vision graduate Vincent Giandonato said earning a district diploma and having his class work count toward a grade point average attracted him to the Vision program. The Vision program allowed Giandonato to enlist a family friend to teach him Chinese over the last four years. He plans to work in the oil and gas industry for a year before enrolling at Colorado State University to major in business and minor in Chinese.

“Long-term, I’d like to be an English teacher in China,” he said.

Other graduates in the small class hope to pursue careers in photography, nursing, American Sign Language interpretation and emergency medical technician/firefighting. Half the graduates plan to attend Colorado Mesa University and one student each plans to attend the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Colorado State University and Bethel College in Indiana.

Vision Executive Director Susan Scofield told the graduating class their varied experiences at Vision have given them a jumpstart on pursuing their passions.

“There’s a stereotype for home-schoolers. Maybe you’ve heard that. None of you fit that,” she said.

School Board member Ann Tisue told the graduating class her family was involved in home-schooling for nine years. She said she home-schooled to see a spark of interest in her child’s eye.

“Your parents changed their lives to see that spark in your eyes,” Tisue said.

Police Chief John Camper, who offered the keynote address at Vision’s commencement, declared the room a “no advice zone” and focused on his experience as a father who has sent his kids off to college and how much the graduates’ parents love their children.

“With young people like you, our world is going to be in great hands for many years to come,” Camper said.


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