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Graduations step off this weekend

By Staff | May 17, 2018

Thousands of seniors will walk the stage this weekend to receive their high school diplomas.

The class of 2018 is a great graduating class, officials said.

“I just think that there are kids in this year’s graduating class who are thoughtful, insightful and articulate. They really stand up for causes they believe in. I don’t know when we have had an academically and socially prepared graduating class to meet the future,” School Board Member Mary Fischer said.

Rob Spicker, a district spokesperson, said they do not yet have a finalized number of the graduating seniors.

“There is no master list at the moment,” he explained.

That is because there may be seniors taking a credit recovery course that does not end until the last day of school on May 30, or taking a summer school course due to being one class short from graduating. Both circumstances prevent them from walking this weekend during a graduation ceremony.

With that said, there are well over 5,300 seniors enrolled in the Lee County School District. Cape Coral High School has 366 seniors enrolled in the school; 444 seniors at Ida S. Baker High School; 321 seniors at Island Coast High School and 345 seniors at Mariner High School

The largest enrolled senior class within the district is at Riverdale High School with 526 seniors.

For Cape schools, graduation ceremonies begin this weekend with Cape Coral High School, Island Coast High School and Mariner High School at Suncoast Arena at FSW on Saturday.

Ida S. Baker High School and North Fort Myers High School, another West Zone high school, will hold their ceremonies Sunday at Alico Arena.

Individuals have the opportunity to watch the graduation ceremonies live at leeschools.net/graduation on the day of the event. This is the fifth year the district has offered live streaming of the graduation ceremonies.

Fischer said although it has been a tough year with Hurricane Irma closing down the schools for an extended amount of time, the district has grown.

“The kids have been amazing, resilient and have worked hard. I think they are ready to step out into the world and do great things,” she said.

Graduating class members are attending such local schools as Florida Southwestern College, Florida Gulf Coast University, as well as other larger universities in the northeast. Fischer said some students are going into the military, while others are attending post secondary and tech colleges.

“Some are going right into the workforce,” she said.

Many of the students furthering their studies were awarded academic, or athletic scholarships.

“The kids have done an amazing job this year,” Fischer said.

Spicker said in early June the numbers will be released as to how much the 2018 graduating class received in scholarships. He said there is a survey of college plans, military, technical and scholarships that is compiled at every school.

Last year the graduating class collectively earned more than $53 million in scholarships.

As a school board member, Fischer had the opportunity to serve on the School Board Student Advisory Committee which, she explained, was an amazing experience because she witnessed how much the students know about what is going on in the world around them.

“They identify problems and concerns and provide potential solutions. It’s a great example of what a good job Lee County is doing in educating the kids with the support of parents and the committee,” Fischer said.

The committee is comprised of one or two students from every middle and high school in the district, with, typically, around 40 or more students at each meeting.

“They work together. They network. They identify common issues to many schools across the district and work together to provide recommendations to what they feel is needed at the schools,” Fischer said. “The board and staff have taken some of the recommendations and made some changes.”

A special presentation will be held at an upcoming board meeting of the committee’s accomplishments and recommendations they have coming forward.

“It’s important that we hear the voices of the students. Oftentimes they know better than we of what they need. They are the voices of the future and know what their jobs are going to be,” Fischer said, adding that the district wants to provide opportunities to prepare them for their future.

Graduation times and places are:

** Saturday, May 19:

Suncoast Arena at FSW – 8099 College Pkwy, Fort Myers:

* Cape Coral High School – 10 a.m.

* Island Coast High School – 2:30 p.m.

* Mariner High School – 7 p.m.

Alico Arena – 10501 FGCU Blvd., Fort Myers

* Dunbar High School – 10 a.m.

* Estero High School – 2:30 p.m.

* Cypress Lake High School – 7 p.m.

Germain Arena – 11000 Everblades Pkwy, Estero

* Lehigh Senior High School – 10 a.m.

* South Fort Myers High School – 2:30 p.m.

* Riverdale High School – 7 p.m.

** Sunday, May 20

Suncoast Arena at FSW, – 8099 College Pkwy, Fort Myers:

* Adult Education – 2:30 p.m.

* Lee Virtual School – 7 p.m.

Alico Arena – 10501 FGCU Blvd., Fort Myers

* Ida S. Baker High School – 2:30 p.m.

* North Fort Myers High School – 7 p.m.

Germain Arena – 11000 Everblades Pkwy, Estero

* Fort Myers High School – 2:30 p.m.

* East Lee County High School – 7 p.m.