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ACE graduation inspires all in attendance

Graduates take the stage.

It’s a school of second chances and new beginnings and on June 13, students from North East ISD’s nationally-recognized and non-traditional Academy of Creative Education (ACE) celebrated their success at the Spring Graduation Ceremony. More than 100 academy graduates crossed the stage as cheers echoed throughout Castle Hills First Baptist Church.

It was a heartfelt and inspirational day as excerpts from student testimonials were presented in a readers’ theater format throughout the ceremony. The testimonials described the obstacles many of the students have faced, such as poverty, health issues, teenage pregnancy and tragedy. But the silver lining in their lives was discovering ACE and the realization that their lives weren’t over—they were just beginning.

The ceremony was hosted by students, Patrick Encino and Kori Wenglein. The commencement speech was delivered by United States Army Reserve Specialist Justin P. Lane. Specialist Lane has conquered improbable obstacles after sustaining severe injuries from an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) explosion on July 2, 2011 in Afghanistan. With both legs amputated, Specialist Lane had a difficult road to recovery, but with the same determination and perseverance exemplified by students at ACE, he prevailed in the face of this tragic event.

The NEISD Board of Trustees, Brian G. Gottardy, superintendent of schools, and NEISD administrators were on hand to congratulate the students as they prepare for the next step in their young lives.

Graduation hosts

Kori Wenglein and Patrick Encino served as hosts for the ACE graduation.

Students take the stage.

The graduates of ACE take the stage as family, friends and NEISD employees cheer.

All in attendance stand for the national anthem.

The Army JROTC Color Guard of Madison High School led the Presentation of Colors.

Opening student remarks.

Katherine G. Yarbrough gives open remarks at the ceremony.

Dr. Christopher P. Throm gives remarks.

Dr. Christopher P. Throm, ACE Director, speaks to all in attendance.

Students read testimonials.

ACE students read testimonials from the graduate candidates throughout the ceremony.

Specialist Lance gives his speech.

Spc. Justin P. Lane speaks to the students about perseverance in his commencement address.

Dr. Gottardy addresses the crowd.

Dr. Brian G. Gottardy, superintendent of schools, gives the Presentation of Candidates to the Board of Trustees.


Students cross the stage. Crossing the stage.
Crossing the stage. Crossing the stage
The students' favorite part of the ceremony had finally come; it was time to cross the stage.

full stage shot.

Posted on June 14, 2013