Lawrence Virtual School graduates celebrate, prepare to move on to their next adventures

Share this post or save for later

Kelley Lowe told fellow students graduating from Lawrence Virtual School Saturday that no matter what brought them there, they made it their school home, found acceptance and made connections.

Lowe, a National Honor Society member headed to Cowley County Community College to study environmental science, said during the graduation ceremony at Free State High School that she was able to learn life lessons along with her academic ones at LVS.

“Some say we cannot possibly do all that brick and mortar schools do. I would invite them to look at my assignments count and list for each week,” she said, drawing laughter from her classmates.

Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Kelley Lowe

She said moving on to “our next home” is difficult, but she knows her LVS teachers will always be there for her and her classmates.

“I am grateful that our school home is an uplifting, inclusive, inviting and safe place,” Lowe said. “I believe that life will teach us it’s not always what we know, it’s how we act and our attitude towards others. Always be appropriate and kind.”

Maricela Ledesma is bound for Wichita State University to study either journalism or English education.

Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Maricela Ledesma

“Maybe you used to be in a brick and mortar school and how to transition over to homeschool or online school because of COVID, or you had to get a job to help provide for your family. Whatever the case was, if you haven’t heard it enough, I’m truly proud of every single one of you for making it this far,” she told the other 124 graduating students.

She said diamonds are made under pressure, and that pressure creates discipline, character and perseverance.

Gillian (Gigi) Vollenweider will stick with the virtual format that helped her make it through school when she goes on to Computer Graphics Master Academy to study 2D character design and illustration.

Vollenweider said she has sensory integration issues, and as a small child, the environment of a traditional classroom was overwhelming and daunting for her.

Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Gillian (Gigi) Vollenweider

“Homeschool didn’t seem like an option for me because I needed special education support,” she said. “This is one of the reasons LVS is perfect for me. I was able to learn on my own pace without falling behind or feeling as though I couldn’t keep up with my peers.”

Vollenweider said her brain just doesn’t process math the way others’ do, but her LVS teachers were able to break it down and help her understand it.

“I’m not afraid of that anymore. In fact, I’m not afraid of a lot of things anymore,” she said.

The ceremony’s keynote speaker, Superintendent Anthony Lewis, told students to act with their minds and their hearts; smile often and laugh hard; and help others along the way.

“It is indeed my hope that we have prepared you with the skills, knowledge and attitude to accomplish anything that your heart desires,” he said. “You have limitless possibilities, and you are a generation of innovators and out-of-the-box thinkers.”

Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Superintendent Anthony Lewis

He told the students to “ignore all the noise” and be true to themselves.

“Go out into the world and make your mark, because the world is certainly waiting on you to show everyone what you’re made of,” he said.

After the graduates crossed the stage, Principal Susan Cooper told them they’ve earned the right to move their tassels from the right sides of their mortarboards to the left.

She told the graduates that time is a gift, and “I challenge you to use your time exploring what sets your soul on fire.”

Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times Family and friends pack the Free State High School auditorium Saturday, May 20, 2023 for Lawrence Virtual School’s graduation.

If community coverage like this matters to you, please support The Lawrence Times.
Click here to subscribe.

If our local journalism matters to you, please help us keep doing this work.
Don’t miss a beat … Click here to sign up for our email newsletters

Click here to learn more about our newsletters first

Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

Chloe Anderson (she/her) contributed to The Lawrence Times from August 2022 through May 2023. She is also published in Climbing magazine, Kansas Reflector and Sharp End Publishing. As a recent graduate of the University of Kansas, Chloe plans to continue her career in photography, rock climbing and writing somewhere out West.

You can view her portfolio, articles and commissioned work here. Check out more of her work for the Times here.

Latest Lawrence news:


Previous Article

Church and state: Devotion infuses Kansas Legislature, with spiritual adviser and daily prayers

Next Article

Lawrence school board to consider selling land to affordable housing group, paying contractor more