May 20, 2024


pleasant trip on vacation

Mountain Valley Academy graduates take the leap into life after high school


Mountain Valley Academy graduated 28 seniors in the Class of 2022 at a ceremony held on campus Monday, June 6.

Many of the students attended MVA’s hybrid independent study program and several of the graduates earned their high school diploma solely through online courses and occasional instructor contact.

“All have demonstrated determination and resilience through the challenges of these last two years,” said MVA Principal Kathryn Gunderson.

The school’s theme this year was “Joy in the Journey.” Students experienced a new online platform and staffing changes, but through it all the school kept students and their learning at the forefront, Gunderson said.

“In light of the challenges of the last couple of years, we were determined to find the bright spots in each day — determined to lead our students along the path that was 2021-22 at MVA.”

Valedictorian James Phillips described how the COVID-19 pandemic affected him and his classmates during their high school journey. While students were learning remotely, he said he fell behind on his schoolwork and had a sense he was floating in an empty house without purpose.

But once he returned to school he said his mental state improved and he appreciated face-to-face contacts.

“I like to think I changed for the better,” Phillips said. “I realized the value of talking together and staying connected.”

Phillips encouraged his classmates to find a sense of purpose in order to be happy, whether it’s having a career, helping people, traveling the world or making beautiful art.

“It doesn’t have to be fun, just something that you’re passionate about and that gives you a sense of direction,” he said. “Whatever the future holds for you, happy graduation.”

Salutatorian Landon Kremensky also delivered a speech to a crowd of family, friends and well-wishers. Kremensky said some of his challenges helped him and others hurt him, but even those activities that seemed like a waste of time were beneficial. He also thanked his teachers, friends and family for their support.

After the graduates accepted their diplomas from Ramona Unified School District trustees, MVA faculty members read a short description of each student’s time at MVA, their accomplishments and future plans.

As the ceremony closed, ASB President Gaetane Silva led the graduates in the traditional turning of the tassel.


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