Photos: Fall Graduation At CedarBridge Academy

October 22, 2015

When you look back you will notice a life of obstacles and the ability to overcome them, was the message Deneca Zuill gave to five students gathered to graduate from CedarBridge Academy this month.

Deneca Zuill, a Community Support Worker at the Family Center and a graduate of CedarBridge Academy who served as the guest speaker,said, “People always seem to disregard their obstacles or the number of times they have failed before they accomplished the goals they set. They fail to realize that the obstacles they had to overcome, played a major role in the success story they develop.”

Five students is a decrease in student numbers who have had to attend summer school for a fall graduation, and the five students — Daquan Burgess, Jeron Clemendor, Dante Darrell, Courtney Stephenson and Tallia-Tamera Zuill — worked hard during the summer in order to ensure they remained with the class of 2015.


Chairman of the Board, Reverend Leonard Santucci said, “Years from now, it will not matter if you graduated June 2015 or October 2015. People ask what year you graduated, not what month. Success delayed is not success denied.”

Ms. Zuill, the guest speaker, told students that when she attended CedarBridge Academy, she had several hurdles to jump. Her first week of school, her grandmother passed, her sister-in-law was incarcerated and her parents split up.

“I became resentful and developed a nonchalant attitude toward school and life in general. I lost sight of all my dreams and aspirations,” she said.

She explained that Mrs. Richards continued to hold her to high standards and expectations.

“You ever felt like Mrs. Richards, as you walked down the hallways, always calls your name or picked on you for nothing?” she asked. “I can tell you that everything Mrs. Richards does, serves a purpose and it is her job to push you to reach your full potential. She sees the qualities you have and is aware of the extra push you need to become aware of the greatness that lies within.”

Ms. Zuill told the students often people consider they a failure because they did not complete school in the prescribed timeframe, but that the length of time to complete school does not matter, the extra work done to complete the task, the extra explanations don’t matter, their family background will not matter, because any failure will birth success.

She then proceeded to break FAILURE down, as dissected by an author named Laila Gifty Akita.

  • Fall – provides time to ponder – what lesson comes from the fall
  • Arise – arise and reach your full potential using your passion and drive – don’t give up.
  • Intuitive Thinking – Intuitive mind to recall the forgotten gift of creativity and the ability to execute new ideas.
  • Learning Process – There are four ways to learn, education only caters to two, know your learning style, utilize it and move forward.
  • Undeterred Soul – persevering despite your setback, not allowing the negative self to keep you from your goals
  • Renewed Thoughts – renewing your thoughts about yourself, your abilities, our enthusiasm and your hard work.
  • Experiment New Thoughts – execute the newfound solutions you have developed, realizing that the opinions of others and their view of success does not add value to the success.

Ms. Zuill then ended her speech reminding students to not allow their obstacles to deter them from what they want in their life and to use them for continued growth.

“You have been gifted with the ability to create new opportunities while weathering a storm, a quality many have difficulty mastering. Generate new ideas and execute them, your success story will reach your level of success,” she added.

After the guest speaker, students were given individual accolades about the personal impression each student made on the school from Principal Richards.

This was followed by each student coming forward and making a statement about their pride in themselves, their expectations or just to say thank you.  Part of the opening ceremony was a musical selection by student drummer and graduate, Jeron Clemendor..

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Comments (2)

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  1. bda kids!!! says:

    well done kids!!! you done it and may your futures be bright.

  2. Young Professional says:

    Great job, perseverance is for the strong!