DARTMOUTH — The Global Learning Charter Public School’s Class of 2019 graduation ceremony in the UMass Dartmouth MacClean Campus Center auditorium Sunday afternoon was all about energy.
Principal Lena Pires praised the 38 graduates for bringing a strong energy to the New Bedford charter school from the first day they entered as fifth and six graders.
“You brought in a boat-load of sass,” she said. “But you were looking for approval. Seventh and eighth grade, you would challenge us more. You were building up your independence. You found the ninth and 10th grade more challenging and we saw tremendous growth. In 11th and 12th grade, you were nervous. You knew you were moving on, and you wanted to do the best you could do. You didn’t break under the pressure. I will always remember your energy. I truly enjoyed this senior class.”
Before the graduates received their diplomas to the tune of loudly energetic cheers from friends and family in attendance, school superintendent and executive director Dr. Stephen Furtado backed up Pires’ words with statistics.
He said 40 percent of the graduating class has been accepted to four-year colleges; 49 percent have been accepted to two-year community colleges. Three seniors interning within the New Bedford public schools have been asked to stay on in their jobs. Fourteen Global seniors have earned a total of 65 college credits under Dual Enrollment. Valedictorian Rebecca Kish alone has earned 24 college credits, almost completing her first year of college studies, he said, “and that means tuition-free.”
Plus, a combined total of $1.9 million in college aid packages have been offered to this year’s graduates, he said.
City councilor Brian Gomes told the graduates they are moving on from one part of their journey to another. “Expound on what you’ve learned when you’re out in the world,” he said, “and bring that knowledge back home, and bring back a little love.”
Keynote speaker state Sen. Michael J. Rodrigues noted only three of the state’s senators are advocates for charter schools and there is a lot more work to do to fix that ratio.
In light of that, he said, “I am so impressed by the Global Charter School faculty’s persistence and innovation. Your graduates are ready to take their next steps.”
Rodrigues ended by reminding the seniors of the words of Winston Churchill. “Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm,” he said.