It has been an incredibly emotional week for many of us in the Stillwater Area Public School community. In a few short days, we’ve celebrated with hundreds young people as they prepare for the next exciting stage of their lives. And we’ve cried as a school family when we said good-bye to an inspirational young man who left us far too soon. I’m so proud to be a part of a community that places such a high value on its young people.
The annual Scholarship Awards event was held May 20 at Stillwater Area High School to recognize more than 100 high school seniors who received post-secondary scholarships. These monetary awards came from a variety of regional and national corporations, local small businesses, district residents and school employee groups and added up to more than $600,000.
Equally impressive were the students who received these awards. These graduates are pursuing careers covering various engineering fields, nursing and bio-medical sciences — to name just a few — and they will attend prestigious colleges, universities and technical colleges across the state and country. I am continually amazed and impressed by the high quality of our students. Their ability to achieve such success is a direct result of the support they’ve received from parents and family, school staff and community members. I thank everyone for their support and guidance of our soon-to-be graduates of the class of 2013.
That same morning, another impressive Stillwater Area High School student, Zach Sobiech, lost his life after a courageous battle with osteosarcoma — a rare form of cancer. Zach was only 18 and just weeks away from graduation. He left us with an inspiring and hopeful legacy. Zach wrote and performed a song that became a sensation, attracting four million hits on YouTube and reaching the Number One spot on the iTunes chart. Zach also became a spokesperson for the fight against cancer with all proceeds from his song going to the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund.
Aside from all of this, Zach was also an amazing young man. He was positive and always brought out the best in those around him. Zach reminded us of the important things in life. In his own words, “You don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living.” Thank you to the Sobiech family for raising such an exceptional person and sharing Zach with all of us. He definitely left the world a better place to live in.
With graduation near, I encourage us all to take a moment to remember what our young people are capable of. Each and every one of our students deserves an opportunity to reach their full potential and find their own path to make an impact in the world. Our future depends on this. It is weeks like this that make me proud and incredibly grateful to be working with our young people.
Superintendent Corey Lunn can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or phone at 651-351-8301 and followed on Twitter at @CoreyLunn834. Questions can also be sent to Superintendent, Stillwater Area Public Schools, and 1875 South Greeley Street, Stillwater, MN 55082. Register for Stillwater Area Public Schools E-News at www.stillwaterschools.org and click on E-News Bureau.