By Karyn Spory, Mt. Pleasant News
Wisdom Quest made all the difference in Shelby Hainline?s life.
Hainline, who was the class speaker during Wisdom Quest?s commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 19, said she never thought she?d graduate.
?School, especially high school, seemed like a never-ending ordeal,? said Hainline. ?A lot of people have the wrong idea about Wisdom Quest. People look down on people who go to this school and automatically assume they?re doing something (wrong).?
But that?s not true, said Hainline. ?Wisdom Quest is not like other schools in the best way possible. It?s very relaxed and laid back and there is no bullying at this school. Everyone has their own stories and their own struggles and over time you learn about them,? she said.
Through tears, Hainline said going to Wisdom Quest was the best decision she ever made. ?It saved me,? she said.
Hainline was one of five students to walk across the stage in the Heatilator Performing Arts Center surrounded by family and friends. High School graduations are always a bit bittersweet. Families and teachers celebrate the accomplishments of the newly minted graduates as the students say goodbye to a second home of sorts. But Wisdom Quest?s graduation on Saturday was extra bittersweet as the district not only bid farewell to five graduates, but also teacher Deborah Vroom.
Vroom, who helped found the alternative high school, is retiring after 23 years of service to the district. Her dedication has gone beyond that to the district, she?s had a direct impact on her students? lives. ?We?re happy for you to enjoy this next chapter,? commencement speaker, Edward Seymoure told Vroom following his introduction. Seymoure is a 2003 graduate of Wisdom Quest and shared his success and struggles post graduation with the audience.
Seymoure moved to Mt. Pleasant in 2001 and placed at Wisdom Quest to finish out the school year. The next fall, however, Seymoure decided to go back to Wisdom Quest because of the teachers and their ability to have more one-on-one time. ?Throughout my time at Wisdom Quest I stayed on track and got to experience all of the extras Wisdom Quest has to offer, like the cave trip, pumpkin patch and river clean up,? he said.
At 18, Seymoure said he coudln?t wait to graduate and become an adult where he wouldn?t need anyone?s help. One of the tough lessons he?s learned, that he hopes his fellow Wisdom Quest graduates will take with them, is you always need help. ?I wasn?t ready to be an adult yet,? he said. ?In my early adult years I lost a job for sleeping in. I lost another for not getting along with bosses. I was not prepared,? he said.
Seymoure said he went through a phase where he just thought life sucked. ?I realized after many failed jobs and relationships that life doesn?t suck, I just destroyed everything thinking that it does,? he said. ?I realized if I was going to make life work I was going to have to work on my relationships. I had to not walk out on a job because it sucked that day.?
Seymoure implored the graduates to set goals. They didn?t have to be big to start out with. ?You don?t have to shoot for the moon on the first try.?
Seymoure continued by saying there would be a lot of ups and downs in life. ?Just keep striving, keep pushing and keep going. And it?s OK if you fail, just don?t give up.?