State College

Young Scholars students take final bow before heading to high school

Valedictorian Willem Antonio Duiker speaks during graduation. Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania held its eighth-grade graduation Wednesday.
Valedictorian Willem Antonio Duiker speaks during graduation. Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania held its eighth-grade graduation Wednesday. nmark@centredaily.com

There are a few years in some Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania Charter School students’ lives that stick out.

For instance, the 10 eighth-grade graduates started kindergarten in 2007. In 2016 they graduated from middle school, and are expected to graduate from high school in 2020.

It might not seem like that big of a deal, but those students said they are proud of those milestones.

“It’s kind of like hitting checkpoints in your life,” Kyra Gines, 13, said. “It’s exciting to be going on to the next step. Middle school’s a place that prepares you for high school, and high school prepares you for college and then the real world.”

She’ll be entering State College Area High School next school year — a school that is about 13 times the size, in population, as Young Scholars.

10 students part of this year’s graduating class

Kyra was among an eighth-grade graduating class of 10 students who were honored Wednesday morning with a commencement ceremony.

It started with a graduation walk to their assigned seats in the multipurpose room to the school band playing “Pomp and Circumstance;” followed by speeches from teacher Kerrin O’Kane, keynote speaker and leadership coach Harold Coleman and class valedictorian Willem Antonio Duiker; and the certificate presentation with school principal and CEO Levent Kaya.

Students were clad in blue caps and gowns with a gold tassel.

“It’s a small school here, but I think the environment still prepared us for high school,” said Willem, 14, who also will attend State High. “I look at it as another round of preparation for the next part of your life.”

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo

Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania Charter School eighth-grade Class of 2016

Amber Davidson

Arif Demirci

Willem Antonio Duiker

Dennis Gerasenko

Kyra Gines

Enzo Lage Meschesi

Jahslyn Lugo-Garcia

Andrew Peters

Daniel Tishchenko

Alsou Umarova

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