Chino Valley- Seven Boys Republic High students graduated on June 17 in the chapel of the private, nonprofit, nonsectarian school and treatment community for troubled youth in Chino Hills.
Chino Valley Unified School District oversees the high school.
The Boys Republic High School Annual Awards Ceremony included awards for underclassmen and graduates, some powerful speeches about the boys’ struggles to set their lives on the right path, and the presentation of diplomas.
“We have all been in the position where people said we wouldn’t succeed…Today, we celebrate that we can succeed,” said graduate Lowell Nichols, 18, who was asked to speak for Boys Republic High’s Class of 2016.
“Our poor choices so far have taken us places we shouldn’t have gone,” Nichols said. He reminded underclassmen in the audience that they have to be “willing to take a risk and do the work.”
Nichols said he was blinded by people on the streets and also blinded to opportunities that were available to him.
“Without education, there is no opportunity, and without opportunity, there is no hope,” he said. “…We all make choices, but in the end, we are our choices…Courage is not being fearless, it is being scared to death and making the right choice anyway.”
He called Boys Republic the turning point in his life.
Nichols received the Crombie Allen Award from the Rotary Club. The award was established in 1929 by Rotarian Crombie Allen, then publisher and editor of the Ontario Daily Bulletin newspaper, to promote higher ideals of citizenship and attainment among the students of Boys Republic.
Boys Republic High Principal Carl Hampton, who previously served as administrator at Chino Hills High, told the boys they are now faced with other choices: “What will you do? How will you structure your life?”
“When hard times come – and they are going to come – not everything is going to be easy,” Hampton said. He advised the boys to make their choices now so they do not have to react to life at the spur of a moment.
“You did it and I am so proud of you,” Hampton said of their graduation. “I’ve worked at many schools, including a really big one down the street, but nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing you succeed.”
After receiving their diplomas, the boys shook the hands of Chino Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) Board members Sylvia Orozco and Pamela Feix, and CVUSD Superintendent Wayne M. Joseph. The boys also greeted teachers and staff members along a wall of the chapel.
A luncheon was held following the commencement ceremony.