PUHI — Twenty-eight seniors will throw their graduation caps into the air tonight at Island School.
“It’s been four long years,” said senior Tai Mitchell.
It may have been a long time for Mitchell and his classmates, but he recognizes that in the grand scheme of things, high school will have gone by in the blink of an eye.
“It’s been a really exciting process because you grow up on Kauai your whole life and then, suddenly, there’s this big decision to graduate high school and figure out what you’re going to do with the rest of your life since you become an adult,” Mitchell said.
Island School doesn’t have valedictorians or measure students against each other based on grade point averages. Instead, school administrators honor six students for academic and athletic achievements.
The students will be recognized at tonight’s commencement ceremony at 5 p.m in Wilcox Gym on Island School’s campus.
Mitchell plans on attending Cal Poly to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering.
“It’s funny, because it wasn’t really my first choice. I wanted to go to a school in Pennsylvania, sort of a small engineering school on the East Coast,” he said. “I sort of put everything into that and when it ended up not working out, I had to take a step back and look at my other options, and Cal Poly was one of the other schools I applied to and I was fortunate to get in.”
Alison Summerhays intends to study mechanical engineering at Brigham Young University, but she isn’t too concerned with staying close to home as she looks forward to branching out.
“Growing up on Kauai has been really valuable with learning about different cultures and meeting new people, but I’m excited to continue that on the Mainland and be in a bigger area with different people and go on to visit different countries,” she said.
While both seniors may have different feelings about leaving Kauai, they will have fond memories of the school that shaped their ambitions.
“There’s so much personal attention and individual learning that’s available to you at Island School. There’s just some amazing teachers and amazing opportunities that I am fortunate to have,” Mitchell said.
“I wouldn’t be here without teachers spending extra hours with meet me on weekends to go over studying for AP tests.”
Graduating from high school is a moment that Summerhays won’t soon forget.
“I’m super excited. I think it’s something that we all look forward to throughout high school, and it’s finally here,” she said.
“The small nature of the classes have been really valuable. The relationships that we have with classmates and the teachers really helped us feel comfortable learning and it’s really added to my overall high school experience.”