This year’s graduation was held on June 21, 2021. Three students graduated and are off to colleges and a prep school. The Class of 2021 was fortunate enough to have Ethan Focht, 2019 graduate of Clearway School speak to the graduates. His words were truly inspiring for all that attended the ceremony.
“Throughout my life I’ve always felt like a fish out of water. Stilted, awkward, and chock full of socially unexpected behavior as Lindsey or Peter would probably call it. Even now it seems no matter what I manage to say or do I always find myself thrust into absurd situations I have no idea how I got into. Most of which being way over my head.
Growing up being this way was never an easy thing for me as you might imagine. Especially in a public school setting at a young age. I dreamed of the days where I didn’t have to go to boring social skills 101 classes, need extra help on assignments or have a teaching assistant follow me around like a bodyguard for when I stepped on a social landline. To put it bluntly I just wanted to be someone other than myself.
When I look back at my time at Clearway I realize just how much I grew in those 5 years. Whether it be through arguing with Peter about movies, listening to Vins life question of cake or pie which I thankfully chose the correct answer to or trying to wrap my head around the enigma that is the Shakespearean language with Jules. There was always something there to challenge me and help me grow as an individual. Through the support of Clearway and the interactions I shared with others I found I was slowly able to learn to shift my focus from wanting to be cured to accepting that I will have to live with these aspects of myself for the rest of my life. That I was not disabled, defective, or in need of a cure. Rather it’s just another part of me just like the color of my eyes or the texture of my skin and that it did not have to be a liability but in fact a strength if I learn how to properly navigate and live with it.
Even after graduating Clearway I still have much to work on. I still have my fair share of struggles and continue to make many mistakes even to this day. Whether it be completely losing my place in a song, accidentally offending customers I ring up when I’m working at a grocery store, or spending hours and hours deleting and rewriting entire paragraphs of a graduation speech. I realize now that working to navigate one's own self is an ongoing process and one that is lifelong and different for each and everyone of us. Our lives are like a sidewalk, some well paved, some cracked, and mine full of twists, turns, zigzags and detours.
Graduation is definitely a big milestone in one's life and leaving behind what you’ve been attached to for so many years is never an easy task. For many including myself it’s a scary thing. For better or for worse nothing is permanent. However, if there is anything I’ve learned from my post Clearway years it’s that there is so much ahead for each and every person who graduates no matter what their grades are or how they feel about school. School is like training wheels for when you set off into the real world so be sure to take note of what activities and classes you enjoy in your time at Clearway. Whether it be history, science or even dungeons and dragons. Each class and elective is a sample for what you can expand upon in your years to come. Even something as simple as starting an outside D&D group can lead you to new and exciting places you never thought you would go.
As you graduates depart from the tiny 1 floor hallway known as Clearway school know that Education is a never ending journey that goes far beyond just memorizing a handful of facts on a piece of paper to get a letter stamped on it. It is a process of self discovery, forming bonds with others, and training your mind to think. Facts and information are merely tools at our disposal and it’s how we use them that makes them what they are. Always be sure to use your imagination whenever you’re learning. In my experience a statement being said by one without an active imagination tends to be a boring one.
Make sure to treat others with kindness and respect as well as yourself. It’s a simple concept but it’s one we all struggle with at some level on a daily basis. Be open to people with different ideas, beliefs and backgrounds and never hesitate to reach out and offer guidance to someone who is lost on their path to who knows where.
Finally don’t be afraid to seek out assistance and support. Whether it be for homework, friendships or just correcting sloppy grammar on a graduation speech. Being able to go to others who have more experience than you is a sign of strength not weakness. We as humans are very much a social species bouncing infinite amounts of thoughts, ideas, facts, knowledge, and emotions off of one another on a daily basis. Being able to communicate and pass down your ideas for others to use is the most important thing we as human beings can do. Now I can’t tell you what the future will bring for each of you. Nobody can. You all just have to dive in and figure that out for yourself. It’s a simple case where you sink or you swim and if you sink you all have many great people in your lives who won’t hesitate to pull you back up again. Good luck and keep swimming! Thank you”
Class of 2019
We are looking to update alumni information!
Please contact Kerry Dougherty(Kdougherty@clearwayschool.org)so we can update our list.
e teachers as well.”
~Jonathan Tumblin Class of 2015