A celebration of the arts, as well as 161 Manatee School For the Arts students, filled the Bradenton Area Convention Center with sweet melodies, jazzy sounds and graceful dance as members of the Class of 2016 earned diplomas Tuesday.
Multiple artistic performances dotted the ceremony, including a performance from the Goldtones jazz band, the contemporary choir performing with dancers and a joint faculty-student song before students were awarded their diplomas.
“Students, tonight is your night,” assistant principal of academic affairs Steven Marshall said. “For most of you, this moment really hasn’t hit you yet.”
In addition to their commitment to the arts, a portion of the ceremony honored students for scholarship awards and community service projects, with Marshall and the other assistant principals having students rise to be recognized.
Groups recognized include “MSA Originals,” or students who have attended the charter school since the sixth grade, honor graduates, scholarship recipients, students headed to the military and Bright Futures scholars, among others.
Starting in the late 1990s, when most graduating seniors were born, student speaker Heather Hall talked about what a long way the students had come to be on the stage receiving their diplomas.
“What a privilege we have,” she said.
Manatee School For the Arts
Graduating class: 12th class
Speakers: Heather Hall, Aaron Keyser, Rebecca Hinds, Siera Verhelle, Katherine DeGenaro, all students
Shining moment: Students and faculty joined together to sing “For Good.”
Interesting fact: MSA students earned more than $800,000 in scholarships and two students completed associates in arts degrees while at MSA.
Best quote: “These challenges can be very exciting and something to look forward to,” Steve Marshall, assistant principal of academic affairs.