KINGMAN - Kingman Academy of Learning High School's gymnasium will be a bit more crowded tonight than for past graduation ceremonies when 62 students receive diplomas.
"The numbers are indicative of our growth," said Susan Chan, KAOL district administrator. "When we started (our high school) in 2001, we knew classes would be small for a while and now are pleased they are growing beyond expectations."
Last year, 45 seniors graduated from KAOL High School at 3420 Burbank St. The ceremony tonight begins at 7 and again will be held in the Betty Rowe Gymnasium.
A baccalaureate exercise was conducted Tuesday night for the prospective graduates. Rob Nichols, physical education, world history and world geography teacher issued a challenge to graduates.
"Baccalaureate is a religious ceremony intended to give students a different perspective on life and get them thinking about other choices," Nichols said Tuesday.
"I'll pass along some advice given to me through the years with the first by a former teacher, who told me to pursue joy, not happiness. The second comes from my wife, who said live life for a purpose."
"My parents gave me the third piece of advice and that's to enjoy family and friends before it's too late."
Nichols will leave the KAOL to return to his native Philippines this summer. City Councilman Kerry Deering will be the guest speaker tonight.
Chan was asked what stands out about this year's graduates.
"The number of students that have excelled at FBLA, the number of sports teams that have been very successful, and the fact that we have five students that have exceeded all three areas of the AIMS test," Chan said.
Valedictorian Caitlin Garfield, salutatorian Adam Lucier, Brooke Adams, Cengiz Arik and Nicole Wassell are the students to whom Chan referred.
Exceeding state standards on all three sub-tests (math, reading, writing) entitles each to a tuition waiver to the state university of his or her choice, Principal Jeff Martin said.
"Getting that tuition waiver means they won't have to dip into family savings or get loans," said Carol Nelson, school guidance counselor.
"It affords the kids the opportunity to attend a college or university that otherwise would be out of their reach."