Commonwealth Charter Academy Awards High School Diplomas to Nearly 1,300 Students
HARRISBURG – Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA), Pennsylvania’s largest public cyber charter school, this week held four in-person and virtual graduation ceremonies to award diplomas to 1,296 students, representing 63 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. “This week’s ceremonies celebrate the thirteenth class to graduate from CCA since its founding in 2003,” said CCA President and CEO Thomas […]
HARRISBURG – Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA), Pennsylvania’s largest public cyber charter school, this week held four in-person and virtual graduation ceremonies to award diplomas to 1,296 students, representing 63 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.
“This week’s ceremonies celebrate the thirteenth class to graduate from CCA since its founding in 2003,” said CCA President and CEO Thomas D. Longenecker, who noted that he was pleased with the return of in-person graduation ceremonies. “Each graduate is to be commended for his or her hard work and perseverance in reaching this important milestone. Many students have overcome personal struggles and significant hurdles to reach this point and we are proud of their accomplishments.”
The four graduation ceremonies took place on Monday, June 14 at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Luzerne County; Tuesday, June 15 at The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Montgomery County; Wednesday, June 16 at the Giant Center in Dauphin County; and Thursday, June 17 at the Monroeville Convention Center in Allegheny County.
Each night featured a commencement address by Mr. Longenecker and the following student speakers:
- June 14
- Alani Valdez, of Scranton, Lackawanna County
- Mackenzie Karasek, of South Williamsport, Lycoming County
- June 15
- Jimmy-Lee Morrison, of Philadelphia
- Julia Beisel, of Philadelphia
- June 16
- Zia Gochenaur, of Duncannon, Perry County
- Torrence Brown, of Newville, Cumberland County
- June 17
- Natalie Cohen, of Crafton, Allegheny County
- Jalise Maxwell, of Sewickley, Allegheny County
The student speakers’ remarks focused on their time and education received at CCA and the life lessons they learned and how their personal and academic growth and challenges have prepared them for the future.
“Wherever your future takes you, let it take you somewhere with purpose. Despite the obstacles put in front of us, be it something that was in our control or not, WE were destined to succeed, to take action, and change the world for the better,” said Alani Valdez, a CCA Class of 2021 graduate from Lackawanna County.
“CCA never let me down and I overcame every obstacle I experienced through each school year, whether it was falling behind in class, issues with my laptop, or planning for college, CCA made the process such a breeze. [B]eing a learner-to-learner tutor, to helping younger kids with projects at our office, we connected to the community in more ways than I ever did through traditional public school,” said Mackenzie Karasek, a CCA Class of 2021 graduate from Lycoming County.
“I want every person…especially the ones graduating with me to understand that there is no box, no label, nothing, that can stop you from being who you want to be. For most of your high school career, you might’ve found yourself wanting to be one thing, but there’s no limit to what we can be,” said Jimmy-Lee Morrison, a CCA Class of 2021 graduate from Philadelphia.
“I want to thank the families of each graduate who, with their hearts, ignited our minds, and who supported us at each twist and turn of our journey to this moment. Thank you to each teacher, staff member, and administrator who has gone the extra mile to not just build a classroom, but a community, and to ignite deep, beautiful curiosity within each of us,” said Julia Beisel, a CCA Class of 2021 graduate from Philadelphia.
“The flexibility that CCA offers helped me make sure my work would get done, while being able to sleep in or work in my down time at rehearsal. That, for me, proved that CCA caters to kids and teens with passions, with extracurriculars, and with goals. CCA helped me thrive, even in difficult situations,” said Torrence Brown, a CCA Class of 2021 graduate from Cumberland County.
“My time at CCA has been amazing. I feel prepared for what I plan to do next, and I know that they tailor to everyone’s different wishes. They help you be prepared for any walk of life you choose whether you are going to college, joining the workforce, enlisting in the military, or taking a gap year,” said Zia Gochenaur, a CCA Class of 2021 graduate from Perry County.
“When I switched to CCA, I was challenged for the first time in every possible way. Making a lot of growth and having teachers to check in with me, mentally and academically, was helpful for my mindset,” said Jalise Maxwell, a CCA Class of 2021 graduate from Allegheny County.
“What’s even stranger to me…is how much has transformed and improved in my time at CCA, from its revamped platform to its flourishing curriculum to its ever-increasing community. Seeing the growth of CCA from a school that taught hundreds of learners to one that now teaches thousands will always remain an aspect of my CCA experience that I will never forget,” said Natalie Cohen, a CCA Class of 2021 graduate from Allegheny County.
Future plans of members of the class of 2021 include enlisting in the military, attending a trade or technical school, entering the workforce, or pursuing a two- or four-year degree at a college or university.
“CCA’s mission is to ensure every student is provided with the skills and knowledge to be successful after high school regardless of the path he or she chooses,” said Mr. Longenecker. “I am confident CCA’s class of 2021 is well prepared for the next chapter in their life and will become contributing members of their communities. I wish the best to all graduates and I look forward to hearing about their future accomplishments.”
Media Contact: Tim Eller, 717-710-3335, [email protected]
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Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA) is Pennsylvania’s largest public cyber charter school serving more than 19,000 students in grades K through 12. With nearly 20 years of experience in delivering an online education, CCA provides flexible, personalized, and student-focused education programs and services. CCA is a family service organization that creates an educational experience and social learning opportunities for the entire family, including more than 700 educational field trips, hands-on workshops, community events and more.