By Rachel Goings
Two Plumas Charter School learning centers held sixth-grade graduations to mark the completion of elementary school. Teachers acknowledged their students’ resiliency in response to a difficult school year post Dixie Fire and COVID.
Quincy Learning Center
Family, friends and educators gathered at the Plumas-Sierra Fairgrounds lawn area in Quincy to celebrate the graduating sixth-graders.
Site Director, Patrick Joseph opened the ceremony welcoming guests and spoke about the transition from elementary school to a jr/sr high school environment. He congratulated the students on their achievement thus far and reminded them there is plenty more to go.
Joseph then invited sixth-grade teacher, Cindy Thackeray to join him onstage. “Miss Cindy provides a great environment that’s not only safe for them to learn, but to develop as friends,” he said.
“I am one of those lucky people in life who love what they do,” began Thackeray. She introduced each of her seven students: Emmerson Artaz-Gilbert, Jura Lunder, Liam Schrammel, Ida Hoznour, Morgan Joseph, Carter Vaughn and Porter Lohn. She shared their favorite subjects and memories from the year and also read out their expressions of gratitude to their family, friends and teachers. Math and the field trips were common favorites among the students.
Thackeray thanked her students for an amazing year and told them that she is excited to see what they accomplish in the next six wonderful years of school. “You don’t have to be the best, you just need to give your best effort,” she encouraged.
Each student was presented with a certificate and a “survival kit” of gifts. The celebration concluded with cake and Thackeray joining her students in the front row to watch a slideshow of photo memories.
Indian Valley Academy K-6
The Indian Valley Academy sixth-grade graduation was held at the Historic Taylorsville Hall. Parent-club members decorated the space with a fiesta theme to compliment the taco dinner served after the ceremony.
Sixth-grade teacher, Jennifer VanAcker congratulated the students for making it through the past few challenging years and living out PCS’ mission statement. “Speaking of resilient, life-long learners, look no further than these students,” she said.
VanAcker then introduced the eight graduates: Amaiya Beatty, Lucy Bentz, Philip Cunningham, Sawyer Foster, Jaycee Pew, Sparrow Prince, Bella Schramel and her daughter, Jewell VanAcker.
As each sixth-grader took their seat, VanAcker read out the student’s favorite memories, expressions of gratitude and plans for the future. Nursing, animalscience, photography, military service and an educated cowboy were some of their career interests. The ESSE Trip to the bay area was the unanimous favorite memory from the school year.
IVA K-6 Site Coordinator, Andre Essue then joined VanAcker onstage to introduce the guest speaker, Sheriff Todd Johns. “In order to lead well, people have to know you. Todd Johns is very involved with the Indian Valley community and we are happy to have him here today,” said Essue.
Johns addressed the graduates and encouraged them to look for opportunities to exercise random acts of kindness and how one act can cause a ripple effect and touch many different people. “Being kind doesn’t require anything that you don’t already possess,” he said.
The students then delivered speeches reflecting their understanding of PCS’s core values: respect, compassion, responsiveness and accountability. “Compassion is important because it will help me become a better version of myself by showing love and kindness towards others,” said Lucy Bentz.
The ceremony concluded when VanAcker instructed the graduates to prepare the slideshow necessities. On cue, the eight students passed out boxes of tissues to their family and friends. After the slideshow of memories, everyone was invited to enjoy tacos and dessert.
Plumas Charter School also operates a learning center in Chester, to learn more, visit www.plumascharterschool.org.
Rachel Goings is the public relations specialist for Plumas Charter School