Engaging Student and Preparing for Virtual Graduation at WAY Michigan

Engaging Student and Preparing for Virtual Graduation at WAY Michigan

By James Middleditch

As June nears it is time to reflect on the past year and get ready to celebrate the class of 2020 as they prepare for their post-secondary life. The students at W-A-Y Michigan have been excited to participate in our first-ever virtual graduation ceremony. The staff at W-A-Y Michigan have been collaborating to create a digital slideshow with recorded speeches from the Superintendent, Board of Education, and the class speaker. As we reflect on the past year, we have many things to celebrate. 

We held a class speaker contest that ended on May 15th. We gave our graduating seniors the opportunity to submit written speeches or recorded speeches. Our staff decided on an outstanding student, Isis Gibson who was accepted to sixteen universities, including Arizona State University, Eastern Michigan University, Kansas State University, and Albion College. She has decided to enroll at Albion college with a $55,545 scholarship. Isis plans to start her studies in Finance, and she was impressed by the amount of care our staff had for her education. 

Another impressive student looking forward to graduation is our Valedictorian, Davin Hemmila. He maintained a 4.0 GPA while enrolled at W-A-Y Michigan and graduated with over thirty dual enrollment credits through Northern Michigan University and Michigan Tech. Davin was accepted to six different universities including Michigan State, Northern Michigan, and Michigan Tech. He has decided to continue at Northern Michigan University to complete his degree in Mathematics. He has been awarded the Presidential Scholarship from Northern Michigan. 

The success of these students would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our W-A-Y Michigan team. Our college and career coach, Jackee’ Patterson, has been dedicated to ensuring these students were ready to succeed after High School. She has worked to provide college tours to students both face-to-face and when COVID-19 hit, through virtual college tours. She has provided FAFSA nights, college application appointments, and a resume workshop to try to address all of the post-secondary needs of our students. 

In addition to the needs of our students, we have been working with our parents to become more engaged in our program. Our parent liaison, Kim Iorillo, hosts several parent meetings each month via Zoom. As a cyber school, we have had the interesting challenge of providing a platform for all of our students and parents to have a voice. Using Zoom meetings, we have been able to offer meetings in the morning and night to meet the schedules of our parents. Additionally, all meetings are recorded and emailed out to the parents after the meeting is finished. Kim has been working hard with our parents to provide a platform to give feedback and improve their understanding of our program. 

The graduates of 2020 will have a year that they will never forget. From participating in field trips and completing college applications to dealing with the changes in their environment due to COVID-19. The staff at W-A-Y Michigan are excited to celebrate their success during our virtual graduation in June.

For more news about what we are doing please check out our website at waymichigan.net. If you want to get involved in our program please feel free to give us a call at the office (313-638-2716) or email us at enroll@wayprogram.net.


James Middleditch is the assistant director of W-A-Y Michigan. He has worked for the W-A-Y Program for the last four years. He has experience as a paraprofessional, teacher, and team leader prior to becoming the assistant director at W-A-Y Michigan.