Wednesday was a special day for the students, staff and parents at Cordova School. Six students became the first graduates of the school: Benjamin Bailey, Jonathan Broker, Alan Chavis, Jalesia Ingram, Antonio Johnson, and Huey Rizzolo.
Cordova School Principal Bonnilee Rhodes opened the ceremony, and expressed her appreciation to parents, and the community for the support during the school’s transition year. She also discussed how proud she was of students.
“I’ve only been principal here a year,” Rhodes said “But I hold a special place in my heart for each of these students.”
Billie Mae Caulder, a retired educator from Roberdel Children’s Center spoke during the ceremony and spoke directly to the parents of the six graduates.
“You were chosen, because He saw something special in you.” Caulder said “Each of these children represent a special gift, a treasure like no other. In all of my years of working with special education children, there was never a day when felt tired, or didn’t want to be there. I knew it was what I was supposed to be doing.”
Cordova School teacher Jody Honeycutt shared special stories about each of the graduates, some from personal experiences and interactions with them, and others from the accounts of other educators who worked with the students. At the conclusion of her remarks, students were presented with their diplomas.
Students were featured on a special slide show, and presented with memory books with photos of them throughout their time attending Roberdel Children’s Center and Cordova School. As they turned their tassels the crowd erupted in a cheer for the six graduates.
The ceremony ended with performance that has become a Cordova School signature, the classic song “You’ve got a friend.” Several of the graduating students sang with the school’s chorus during the performance.
Student Benjamin Bailey clapped heartily as the students turned their tassels, signifying the beginning of a new chapter in their lives.