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Principal Jagels: Words of Advice

— At the start of Mountain View High’s graduation ceremony, last Friday, June 15, Assistant Principal Gary Morris told the seniors, “Do not follow where the path may lead. Instead, go where there is no path and leave a trail.”

At the ceremony’s end, 83 students held their diplomas, turned the tassels on their caps and celebrated with family and friends. Soon, they’d make their way in the world as high-school graduates. But first, Principal Dave Jagels reviewed the hurdles they’d already overcome to reach that point.

Noting Wounded Warrior Justine Constantine, who addressed Mountain View government classes this spring, Jagels said that – despite being severely injured in the Iraq war – Constantine overcame his challenges to help others. He did so, said Jagels, because of his grit, or indomitable spirit.

Similarly, said the principal, “Mountain View is a place where students with grit find success and overcome obstacles so overwhelming, one would think success would never be possible. Some [students here] today came to this country a few short years ago with little schooling, without parents and with little English.”

Others, he said, juggled parenthood with schoolwork. Others overcame addiction, homelessness and other obstacles. Yet because of their grit and that of the faculty, they’re graduating. “I see grit in a staff willing to pick up students at home to make sure they have a ride to school,” said Jagels. “I see staff providing food so students can eat, visiting homes to make sure everything’s OK, driving students to college placement tests and mentoring them ‘just because it’s the right thing to do.’”

Passion for the mission and dedication to achieve it make Mountain View what it is, said Jagels. “Students, take your determination and grit and go do amazing things with your life,” he said. “Let our motto of Family, Love and Respect be character traits you carry with you. Class of 2012, we’re proud of you and your grit and of what you’ve accomplished and overcome to be here today.”