Stereotypes didn’t slow Alyssa Zurowski down — not one bit.
Yes, she was the lone female in her class while studying commercial truck technology for two years at the Lorain County JVS. As the senior speaker Friday at the vocational school’s senior recognition ceremony, she said nothing could stop her from realizing her dream of working on semi trucks and diesel engines.
“Here at JVS, they don’t care where you’re from, what gender you are, or what size you are but they do care about your education and your future,” the Midview senior told fellow graduates from the lectern at the Lorain Palace Theatre.
Boys in Zurowski’s class rallied around her. They didn’t care that she was a girl or weighed in at a slight 115 pounds. None of that mattered under the hood, where together classmates were pushed to their limits and looked to each other for support.
Friday was the last time they’d all be under the same roof.
“Today we begin to live the lives we envisioned for ourselves” and graduates must be filled with optimism if they are to achieve success, Zurowski said.
“Thank your friends, family, and especially your teachers if you haven’t yet. We wouldn’t have made it this far if it weren’t for them,” she said. “They’ve taught us everything we’ve used to get here today and they’re the ones who made sure we would cross this stage.”
The JVS Class of 2018 is outstanding, earning more than $850,000 in scholarships and 561 credentials, said principal Jill Petitti.
Seniors exceeded her expectations and have now all joined a very important group by becoming alumni, she said.
Wearing ties, blue FFA jackets, dresses, honor cords, and chef’s coats, they gathered on stage to end one chapter of life and begin the next.
The graduates are aiming at careers in a wide range of vocational callings from agricultural science to the culinary arts, carpentry, health sciences, cosmetology, public safety, plumbing, and engineering.
A special few have chosen to enlist in the U.S. armed forces and earned sustained applause from the packed Palace.
Superintendent Glenn Faircloth closed the ceremony by thanking parents for allowing the JVS to have their “precious cargo.”
“We’re depending on you to break the status quo,” he told graduates, saying they have a great deal of power to “challenge the world.”
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.