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Class of 2022 receive diplomas, celebrated for mix of accomplishments, journeys through high school

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Metro East Web Academys Class of 2022 was celebrated during commencement Thursday evening, June 16.  A group of seniors all made their own paths to a milestone achievement — that is just what Gresham's Metro East Web Academy is all about.

Some faced bullies and toxic situations in traditional schools, while others just couldn't learn in that kind of environment. Some struggled to keep up with their peers, and some kept racing ahead in search of new challenges.

The 150 members of MEWA's Class of 2022 all forged their own paths, and on Thursday, June 16, they were celebrated by school staff, peers and loved ones for earning their diplomas.

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, but we can change how we play the game," said Principal Christina Struyk-Bonn. "You all made it here tonight."

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Valedictorian and speaker Nicholas Bacon.  During the commencement, hosted back at downtown's East Hill Church after two years of complications around the pandemic, the spotlight remained firmly on an amazing group of seniors. Eight student speakers shared the journeys they took to stand firmly on the stage in front of a packed, standing-room-only crowd.

"Step out of your comfort zone, that is the only way to grow," said Mia Smith.

"It was a leap of faith and a lot of change," said Benjamin Roberts, who was brave in both shifting into MEWA and adjusting his plans to earn a GED. "At MEWA I felt free to learn at my own pace."

"Don't be afraid to reach out, there are people willing to help," Roberts added.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Elona Bukmyrza.Eliot Miner was one of those students who always assumed she would graduate in a traditional public school. And though she was nervous about falling out of touch with her friends, MEWA was the perfect fit.

"Don't be afraid to take on those new challenges and opportunities," she said.

Many of the students were prompted to the alternative school during the pandemic, which forced them into distanced-learning in the first place. While other schools scrambled to put virtual learning in place, MEWA continued like clockwork.

"We gain new perspectives through obstacles in our life," said Nicholas Bacon. "When everything feels like it's going wrong, surround yourself with friends and family."

"Congratulations Class of 2022 — we did it," he added with a beaming smile.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Metro East Web Academys Class of 2022 was celebrated during commencement Thursday evening, June 16.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Valedictorian Jacob Agresta.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Benjamin Roberts spoke about taking on new challenges during the MEWA graduation ceremony.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Cooper Jacobson.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Isabella Sanchez was both a valedictorian and class speaker.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Evan Brown made his into the main hall alongside his fellow graduates.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Valedictorian and class speaker Mia Smith.


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