BECK TOLD GRADUATES TO ALWAYS LIVE LIFE WITH COURAGE AND FAITH AND STAND FOR WHAT IS RIGHT
Class of 2013 offered $4.5 million in scholarship/grants and acceptances into many top universities
The 53 graduates of the Class of 2014 received much more than their diplomas on Saturday, June 7, at Hurst Conference Center. Inspirational words of wisdom and a personal call to action presented with priceless artifacts brought by Commencement Speaker Glenn Beck captivated the seniors and the more than 600 family, friends and faculty in attendance for Westlake Academy’s fifth graduation ceremony.
Town of Westlake Mayor Laura Wheat, also the mother of a graduate this year, provided opening remarks for the memorable occasion. She began by defining the word commencement, which she, as the mom of a graduate, stated felt more like an ending than a beginning.
“Then it hit me that today is not about me!” continue Mayor Wheat. “It’s about these amazing young people here to change the world. It’s their beginning and everything in their lives has been in preparation for this day. We are simply the platform from which these graduates will launch and go places we have never dreamed.”
The 53 graduates have a 100 percent college acceptance rate, and have been accepted into many top universities with almost $4.4 million in scholarships and grants. Out of this class, which is the largest for the academy so far, 12 seniors have been named AP Scholars (three with honor) and three students were recognized as National Merit Commended Scholars: Salutatorian Morgan Braun, Rachel Cox, and Krishna R. Gadi. This designation is reserved for the top two percent of the 1.5 million entrants in the National Merit Scholarship competition.
“The graduates of Westlake Academy are a unique group of individuals who have been given the gift of an IB World education. Our students know the value of international mindedness and the power of thinking globally and acting locally,” said Dr. Mechelle Bryson, executive principal, Westlake Academy. “As young adults, they embark from here on their life's journey equipped with 21st century tools and the confidence that comes from rigorous preparation.”
Valedictorian Victoria Garabedian, of Keller, is a founding student of Westlake Academy who has attended the school for 14 years. Victoria has been accepted to The University of Texas in Austin, where she will study film and business.
Salutatorian Morgan Braun, of Westlake, has attended Westlake Academy for 10 years. Morgan has received the Chancellor’s Scholarship (a full, four-year academic scholarship awarded to only 40 students out of 18,000 applicants) from Texas Christian University, where she will major in nursing and minor in Spanish.
Following special remarks by Texas State Representative Giovanni Capriglione and the salutatorian and valedictorian addresses, Mayor Wheat introduced Commencement Speaker Glenn Beck, radio talk show host, author and journalist. Beck is founder and owner of Blaze.com, which attracts over 25 million unique visits per month. He has number one New York Times bestsellers in both fiction and nonfiction, and he travels across the country speaking to sold-out audiences. His radio program – The Glenn Beck Program – is the 3rd highest rated radio program in America and can now be heard across the country on over 400 stations.
Presenting a message of courage and faith, Beck, facing the graduates throughout his talk began with, “There are two things you know but may not value: your mom and dad love you more than you know, and your Heavenly Father loves you and is there for you.”
Beck also told the graduates, “There is no problem big or small that you cannot navigate. As long as you have the current day, you can write the course of your life.”
Other key messages from Beck included, “question everything with boldness; challenge those at the top; read everything people tell you not to; know that wealth and fame are meaningless; say what you mean and mean what you say; remember when you have nothing, the only thing of value is your honor and your integrity; and while alcohol and drugs will make your life easier for a short time, they will end up destroying your life. “
Tom Brymer, Westlake town manager and Westlake Academy superintendent, expressed gratitude for Beck giving his time and providing such a powerful message, and shared thoughts about the seniors.
“We are extremely proud of our fifth graduating class who has accomplished so much during their time at Westlake Academy. They have all been accepted into the colleges of their choice and have bright futures ahead,” Brymer said. “But most of all, we are proud of them as life-long learners who will achieve much in their lives as they put their IB education into action and make a positive impact on their world.”
Additional college acceptances for the Class of 2014 include: American International College in London, Auburn University, Baylor University, Brigham Young University-Provo, Colgate University, Colorado School of Mines, George Washington University, Marquette University, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, Southern Methodist University, Syracuse University, Texas A&M College Station, University of California-Los Angeles, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of Southern California, and University of Tulsa.
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Westlake Academy is a community-owned, public charter school, serving grades K-12, offering the rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. Founded in 2003, its mission is to provide students with an internationally minded education of the highest quality so they are well-balanced, compassionate, and respectful life-long learners. Students are encouraged to achieve individual academic excellence. By promoting independent thinkers, the IB curriculum helps students see how the world around them works, preparing them to become active participants as well as agents of positive change. Westlake is the only municipality in Texas to receive a charter designation and the only public school in Texas, and fifth in the nation, to offer the IB curriculum for grades K-12. The Academy continues to maintain a TEA “Exemplary” rating for the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. It is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, and The Washington Post. Westlake Academy is located at 2600 J.T. Ottinger Rd., Westlake, TX 76262. Call 817-490-5757, visit www.westlakeacademy.org, or email email@example.com for more information.