In Their Own Words: Excerpts from Simon Youth Academy Students’ 2014 Graduation Speeches

“Great moments are born out of great opportunities.”

I stand before you as a proud graduate of the Peabody Learning Academy  . . .  This program gave me back my life, and for
that I will always be greatful. Being sick for many years has been what’s defined
me, that is until this year. Now I am defined by what I can do.  This program gave me the independence to
succeed academically, plan for college and dream of my future.

How do you say “thank you” for that? I
have decided the best way to give back to my school is to go out in the world
and make a difference. 

I want to be a pediatrician and work
with kids like myself. I want to show them with determination, hard work, and a
positive attitude, you can do anything. My goal is to work with chronically ill
children. I understand this patient demographic will be challenging, but I
anticipate and look forward to sharing some of my own experiences.

I want to thank everyone who has
believed in me, encouraged me, stood by me and helped me. With all of your
support and love, it has been an amazing year. I would like to say a special
thank you to Mr. Bedard for finding me and encouraging me, and to Mark Whiting
for introducing this program to Peabody.

Great moments are born out of great opportunities,
and that is exactly what I am experiencing today. Thank you, Peabody Learning
Academy. I will always be proud to call you my alma mater.

Kernweis ‘14
Simon Youth Peabody Learning Academy at Northshore Mall
Peabody, MA

“Here, I wasn’t just another student.”

I would like to say “thank you” to everyone who supported me
through this journey.  We went through
some really rough times together, but we made it!

To the staff at the Academy: thank
you for making this so much more than just a school.  I learned skills that will help me in the
real world – skills that you can’t learn in a book.  I am so grateful that I got to do things like
volunteer for my third grade teacher.  It
was just one of the many experiences that I will never forget. 

Graduating means so much more because
I had to overcome obstacles to earn my diploma. 
And the Academy helped me overcome those obstacles.  Here, I wasn’t just another student.  I was part of a family.

Logan Carter
Simon Youth Clark Pleasant Academy
Whiteland, IN

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