Our graduation ceremony is as unique as our program is. We celebrate both an 8th grade Completion Ceremony as well as a High School Ceremony. What makes our ceremony special is that each of our graduating seniors selects a teacher of their choice to speak about their specific, personal growth and post-graduation goals during the ceremony. This allows both their fellow graduates and families to learn more about the person they became while attending Humanex Academy and who they hope to become after graduation. This transition from student to alumni relationship continues beyond the ceremony.
My name is Doug Spencer. I graduated from Humanex in 2002. When I first started at Humanex in 2000, I was technically in my sophomore year but barely had freshman credits. School was never really my “thing.” From my first years of junior high school and until I started as Humanex, I was an extremely shut down and depressed person. The years to follow at Humanex helped me to discover the real me. I made friends for the first time in my life and felt accepted for who I was, not what was popular. Schoolwork became fun. I had the support of my friends and the Humanex faculty to guide me through depression and aid me in expressing what was going on in my life at that time. Through the staff’s mentoring and support, I was able to finish on time and join the military.
I spent five years serving our country abroad as ground forces medical support. I lived in Japan for almost four of those five years. In 2005 I was called to augment the 63rd Medical Battalion in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom, and spent nine of the most fulfilling months of my life between five different countries in the Middle East. By the time I was 21 I had traveled over 250,000 miles, been to eight different countries and circumnavigated the globe. In June 2007 I was honorably released from active duty in the United States Navy as a Petty Officer Third Class. It took a few months to adjust to what the military calls civilian life, but I managed quite well.
This past August I enrolled at Arapahoe Community College to start the college journey. I am running slightly ragged with 17 credits but manage to currently hold a 3.0 GPA. I have two more semesters until I will transfer to Colorado State University and continue on the road to a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Security, double majoring in Japanese language with a minor in business. This Christmas I am traveling to Japan to visits some friends and speak with the chairman of the University of Okinawa in Japan so I can volunteer 45 days this coming summer with their English department. I am very thankful for the staff and principals of Humanex Academy for providing the foundation for my immense and continuing success
My name is Dane Smith and I am a former Humanex Academy student. I graduated in 2002 and since then have graduated from Oregon State University and am currently at University of Colorado School of Law. The purpose of this essay is to share my experiences with individuals interested in pursuing opportunities when high school is over.
My experiences at Humanex Academy were very interesting to say the least. Anyone could ask the teachers and administrators there to confirm that I was completely out of line my first year in this school. However, through hard work and a little luck, I got my act together and became productive. Looking back at my “career” at Humanex, there were a lot of things I appreciate. First and foremost, I learned what type of individual I was in terms of learning. My teacher Bob would sit down with me every day in class and challenge me to better myself. This was extremely frustrating for me as there were times I wanted to give up. I felt pestered and it really bothered me. However, one day, everything clicked. The level of utter frustration turned into a powerful motivation, a sense of belonging. That sense of belonging matured into productivity. I can’t help to think how lucky I am to have had a teacher push me to learn material I thought I couldn’t learn, or at least in my eyes at the time. Besides that amazing influential moment at Humanex, I learned something equally as important. I learned how to follow a syllabus. If anyone is considering college, a syllabus is exactly what you will be getting. Learning how to manage my time by what the objectives were on the syllabus was very important for me. It helped manage stress, it kept me motivated, and eventually it allowed me to constantly stay on top.
I would like to take a moment and explain that college is tough. It is not easy waking up everyday and going to class, then studying every night. There are good days, and bad days. In college, nobody holds your hand; it is up to you to produce. My first term in college, I received the lowest grades I have ever had in my entire life. I felt I was not “college material.” That image is false; there is no such thing as “college material.” It is qualities within that make the individual, not the institution or the paper that illustrates what you’ve accomplished. It is very important to realize that success comes from all angles. It is not linear; what success or failure you have today does not mean you’ll have it tomorrow. Success or lack of success is not constant but ever changing. There are two quotes that help me:
“Once you’ve reached the mountaintop, then you shall begin to climb.” –Atwul Gawande
“Integrity is not measured by how hard one falls, but by how quickly they get up.” (I don’t know who said that)
To me this illustrates exactly what I have been saying—the work is never done. If an individual has a dream, they should pursue it. No dream is too hard. There will be times where it looks unattainable, but remember tomorrow is a new day. And that is what I have learned in my life, instilled initially by Humanex Academy.
“My greatest rewards come from seeing how proud students are at our graduation ceremonies and hearing how they’re doing when they come back to visit. All returning students have expressed gratitude that Humanex was available during critical periods of their lives. Some snapshot updates I’ve received from parents, friends, and the students themselves include: having a 4.0 grade point average at the end of her sophomore year, being the top graduate of his class at the Marine Corp Flight School, getting a better grade than mom from the same chemistry professor at School of Mines (that was from mom), being a leading prosthesis designer, getting accepted as a candidate for a Ph.D. in Physics, attending law school, and many going on to other graduate schools. As a math and science teacher, these are objective measures that show I am making a difference.”