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  • Lake Oswego Review

    ‘I learned to love myself at this school’: Harmony Academy celebrates fifth graduating class

    By Mac Larsen,

    2024-06-18

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0CzTCl_0tvjv04s00

    Although Jake Sweeting has assumed a new role at Harmony Academy since last year’s graduation, the assistant principal can still dish out dad jokes like he did when he was a teacher.

    “I want to start with a quote from my late grandfather and that's: ‘Never lose your sense of humor,’” Sweeting said. “That being said: ‘Why did the teacher wear sunglasses to class? Because the students are so bright.’”

    On Saturday, June 15, members of Harmony Academy’s class of 2024 received their diplomas surrounded by friends, family and a supportive community.

    Harmony’s founding Principal Sharon Dursi Martin introduced board president John Wooley to give his opening remarks for the celebration.

    “I have the distinct pleasure of being this year’s board president for Harmony Academy and it is just one of those humbling honors that I get to do and serve this profound organization,” said Wooley.

    Harmony Academy was founded in 2019 and is Oregon’s first recovery high school. Admissions are open year-round to any high school student from Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah counties who needs specialized recovery resources and care that Harmony can provide. Harmony is free to attend as a public charter high school operated in partnership with the Lake Oswego School District.

    “Leading up to this event, I was really thinking about a quote that means a lot to me: ‘Light shrinks or expands in proportion to our courage.’ This event, and everything around it, really has everything to do with courage,” said Dursi Martin. “Recovery is about the courage to change and each individual change piles up to create a life. It's a pretty amazing process. The world is huge in front of you right now. There are no wrong steps you can take as long as you stay in recovery. Stay true to yourself. There's no limit to what you can do right now.”

    Harmony’s graduating seniors are MJ Chavez-Creedon, Grey Galton, Charlotte Garcia, Audrey Kort, Landon Lae and Bobbi Lindstrom. As is Harmony Academy tradition, each graduate spoke about their personal journey before diplomas were presented.

    “I can confidently say today that I am proud of my accomplishments, where I come from and wherever I end up going. I learned to love myself at this school,” said Chavez-Creedon.

    Harmony Academy offered a place of support for the class of 2024; some said they’d almost given up on school completely.

    “My first day did not go how I expected. The students and staff here treated me with love and acceptance, something I hadn’t felt for a long time,” said Lae. “Harmony is like a second home for me. After two years of attending schools, I’m off probation, clean from drugs, graduating and attending college next year.”

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