Vision School graduates 15

GRETEL DAUGHERTY/The Daily Sentinel—Four of the 15 graduates of the Mesa Valley Vision Home and Community Program turn their tassles as they graduate with their high school diplomas Wednesday during a ceremony at the Avalon Theater. From left are Kylie Elizabeth Haas, Kyra Ann Dowd, Alexandria Marie Donalson and Shaniah Rackell Bailey.



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GRETEL DAUGHERTY/The Daily Sentinel—Four of the 15 graduates of the Mesa Valley Vision Home and Community Program turn their tassles as they graduate with their high school diplomas Wednesday during a ceremony at the Avalon Theater. From left are Kylie Elizabeth Haas, Kyra Ann Dowd, Alexandria Marie Donalson and Shaniah Rackell Bailey.

Best friends Kyra Dowd and Kylie Haas had already earned 12 college credits together before graduating Wednesday from Mesa Valley Vision Home and Community Program.

They’re also both certified nurse aides who work at area nursing homes. This fall, they plan to live together and take all of the same pre-nursing classes at Colorado Mesa University.

“We motivate each other,” Dowd said.

“It’s kind of a competition,” Haas added.

The two are both home-schooled but took college math, English and health sciences courses together at Colorado Mesa and took social studies courses separately. They weren’t the only ones: At least seven of this year’s 15 Vision graduates took college courses before earning their high school diplomas.

Twelve of Vision’s 2013 graduates participated in Wednesday afternoon’s commencement ceremony at the Avalon Theatre. It was the fifth commencement ceremony for the school, which allows parents to home-school students with curriculum and study guidance from program advisers.

Because of the small size of the class of 2013, students supplied a few photos of themselves growing up and picked a favorite song to accompany those photos as they streamed across a screen at the head of the theater during a slideshow presentation. Before gathering their diplomas and heading out to the lobby for a celebratory cupcake, students heard a brief commencement address from Louis Nelson, director of Camp Hope, a Christian camp on Grand Mesa.

“When you serve others, that is the greatest gift that you can give to anybody — not only to others, but to yourself,” Nelson told the audience.

Several students plan to follow that advice through missions or volunteer work, according to their profiles in Wednesday’s graduation program. Haas said her goal is to some day volunteer with Mercy Ships, a program that places medical personnel on a boat to travel to third world countries and provide on-board medical services to those in need.

“It’s a great way to do mission work and do what I love, which is medical work,” she said.



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