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Students take step through Open Door

Open Door School graduates and students perform the song “Friends.”

Open Door School graduates and students perform the song “Friends.”


Some students had only been at Open Door School for a few years, while others had walked its halls the majority of their lives — but they all left together as graduates.

Tears mixed with smiles as seven Open Door School students walked toward the front of the school’s gymnasium with friends and family on either side to receive their diplomas Thursday evening.

Principal Kendra Heim said she is proud of “her kids,” but it is truly heartbreaking to see them go.

“I’ve known most of them since they were small, but they are not small anymore” Heim said. “I love to see that they are moving on and starting their own lives, but it’s sad to see them go.”

Typically Open Door has a graduating class of two or three students. Heim said this year was rare because more students made the choice to graduate before they turned 21 years old, the age they can no longer continue attending Open Door.

Because they spend more years together than most students, graduating from Open Door can be especially sad as the students leave their long-time friends, Heim said.

Brittney Lowe, an 18-year-old graduate, said she is excited but agrees with Heim that she will miss the friends she has made.

“I’ve been waiting on this for a very long time,” Lowe said. “I’ll miss my friends definitely. I wish them luck in their future and I’ll still try and be there for them.”

“The Walking Dictionary,” as Lowe said she is known throughout the school for her university-level spelling aptitude, plans to work at Tri-State Industries and possibly work with farm animals.

After the Open Door Bell Choir performed the song “Friends,” Heim showed a slideshow showing each graduate throughout the years. Baby pictures brought “awws” from the crowd, while silly antics and faces brought laughter.

A standing ovation ended the ceremony as the students walked this time to the back of the gymnasium with tassels on the other side of their caps.

The Open Door School Class of 2013:

• Samantha Renee Bryan

• Aaron Leslie Cahal

• Brittney Nicole Lowe

• Ovral Eugene Munyan III

• Marcus Anthony Smith

• Andrew Ray Watson

• Cody Edwards Williams