Flashback: Kensington Woods graduates 20th class

Kensington Woods graduates 20th class

The Livingston Post

Kensington Woods Schools hosted its 2016 graduation ceremonies on Friday, June 3, at the Jane Tasch Theater in Pinckney. This year, Kensington Woods celebrated the graduation of its 20th cohort, as well as its first cohort who had been with the school since eighth grade.

Kensington Woods Schools honored 20 graduates during their Commencement ceremony. Students were honored for their academic achievements during the ceremony as well as their demonstration of character and service throughout high school. Honorees included: Aaron Craig, 2016 Valedictorian and WXYZ’s Brightest and the Best; Karla Heinig, Salutatorian; Trevor Leffert, Congressional Medal of Merit; Aaron Craig, Erik Harp, Karla Heinig and Trevor Leffert, graduating with Honors. Craig, Heinig and Leffert were also all dual enrolled while at Kensington Woods, leaving high school with 49, 28 and 15 college credits respectively. Craig was also honored this year with the Ronald Mosier Memorial Award by the Mathematical Association of America – Michigan Section for his work studying an application of the heat equation while at Lawrence Technological University.

Students also received a variety of scholarships to support their future college endeavors, totaling over $199,000. Trevor Leffert received a $20,000 Emerald Scholarship to Eastern Michigan University as well as scholarships from Grand Valley State University and Oakland University. Karla Heinig was awarded the Trustee Scholarship from Spring Arbor University, a $48,000 scholarship. Jack Becker received a $14,000 scholarship from the New York Film Academy and Erik Harp received an $8,000 scholarship from Ferris State University. Aaron Craig received multiple scholarships from Michigan Technological University, totaling $43,400.

Kensington Woods High School proudly has a 100% college placement rate for all graduates and the Class of 2016 is no exception. The 20 graduates are heading to universities and colleges that include Michigan Technological University, Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University, New York Film Academy, Northern Michigan University, Spring Arbor University, Washtenaw Community College, Lansing Community College and Oakland Community College as well as various branches of the Armed Services, including the Marines, the Army and the Air Force. Graduates will study fields including early childhood education, acting, motorcycle engineering, psychology, music business and production, information assurance and automotive.

In her Salutatorian speech, Karla Heinig recognized the possibilities of the future, “Now is the time that we have the opportunity to choose where our journeys will take us. From this moment forward, we have the power to further our education, land the job of our dreams or even travel the world. No matter what path you choose, make sure it’s the one that makes you happy.”

She also recognized how her school experience shaped her and her classmates, “Kensington Woods has been my home away from home for the past five years. My experience here is not like the average high school. From teachers that were dedicated to helping us every step of the way, to classmates that felt like family, my high school experience has been unique, to say the least.”

Valedictorian Aaron Craig wished his classmates well. “From knowing all of you, I am sure that you all will do great in whatever you want to do, ” he said, “and I know that Kensington Woods has given us all the tools to achieve our goals.”

Kensington Woods’ Commencement ceremony is a special time because each student gets a chance to recognize those in their lives that helped make their success possible. Many students thanked teachers, family members and friends, sharing kind words and some inside jokes.

The graduates were addressed by Keynote Speaker James Gray, professional MMA fighter and owner of Team SFS who spoke to graduates about how facing fear can make you a stronger individual and the importance of taking responsibility for oneself. Parent Maureen Lafrinere and staff member Ed Dzierwa also spoke.