In the next week, I will attend seven graduations and celebrate alongside our community as more than 1,200 students become Bend-La Pine Schools' graduates. Over the years, I've attended dozens of graduations and they remain my favorite part of the job.
When I congratulate students as they walk across the stage - while families, staff and students cheer - I think, "THIS is what it's all about." The pride in students' eyes, the confidence in their strides, the smiles as they take their diplomas - all of it inspires and motivates me.
Graduation reminds me that the work we do matters and is worth celebrating.
From the moment our students enter kindergarten to the moment they walk across the stage (and beyond that, to be honest), we are there to support students on their journey.
We help them learn to count and to tie their shoes. We comfort students when they fall. We support them when they struggle. When they succeed, we are there to cheer.
I wish you could all be there with me as I shake our students' hands and offer them my congratulations. It's a culmination of all their efforts — and all of yours, as well.
We know graduation is not a finish line, but rather a starting point. I leave each one with an overwhelming sense of optimism about where our future is heading and I thank each of you for helping make it happen.
- Shay Mikalson, Superintendent