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"Once an Arc, Always an Arc"
Shoniya Woodruff, Class of '21

Original Release: 4/25/2022

Shoniya Woodruff.
Shoniya Woodruff

On March 13, 2020, students who attended South Euclid Lyndhurst schools were informed through parents, teachers, administrators, and social media that they were going on a three week spring break due to the mass casualties and the increased severity of COVID-19. To the students, it sounded great to have a three week spring break however, it wasn't as good as it seemed. It seemed that neither the students nor the country was able to wrap their heads around the enormity of the situation. But as always, life is not about the cards you were dealt, it's how you played the hand. And the class of 2021 played the hand very well. They took their chrome books home, searched for that missing charger and relied on their parents, family, friends and faculty members to give them a push even when they wanted to give up. They did not allow the darkness of the pandemic to dim their light , instead THEY LIT UP! The class of 2021 had this running joke, of "What is an arc"? When compared to surrounding schools, they saw mascots that were tigers, wildcats, and cardinals, just to name a few. And our mascot just had to be the arcs? Why couldn't SEL schools have a strong, fierce animal? Well, simply put an arc is a light. However, not everyone can be a brush arc.

Here's just a little information about what it means to be an arc. Charles F. Brush placed 20 arc lights in Cleveland Public Square in the 1870's to showcase the arc light to Cleveland residents. These arc lights were as bright as 4,000 candles. They were so bright that people in attendance had to wear smoked glasses just to protect their eyes. Now what is the point of all of this? The point is that any student that attends SEL schools should be proud to be an arc. An arc is a resilient light, shining in the darkest hour. One light is a fire so strong it can not be extinguished. Arcs were made to light up the world. WE are arcs! Maybe before today you dimmed your light, maybe you were afraid to let your light shine, maybe this was out of fear or embarrassment. But after today, you don't dare dim your light! Remember we're arcs, it's what we do!!!! Now there are going to be people who can't handle your light. Don't be mad at them when they say your light is too bright, your energy is too bright, your potential is too bright. Tell them if my light is too bright, put on some shades because I'm here to stay. So the question that we need to ask ourselves is "Am I going to be that light: see what I have and manufacture a solution or am I going to be a dim light: see what I don't have and manufacture a sob story?" Because when you find yourself in the darkest of places, you are not confined to that reality. In fact, you are tasked with changing it, with persistence, and your light, your individual light that burns inside of you. Yes, I am talking to you, reader. YOU can reconstruct the whole world around you. So no matter what cards life may hand you, or what tribulations you go through in life, remember that the sun rises even on the darkest nights. You are light just like the sun. That's what an arc is. You are not just A light, you are THE light. So be it.

This speech was delivered by Shoniya at the Brush High School Class of 2021 Commencement Ceremony. Shoniya resides in the Cleveland area and is currently working at UH Cleveland Medical Center as a nurse. She participated in the Excel TECC program at Brush and was able to go to nursing school, pass her state boards and become a licensed nurse. She plans to attend Kent State University to pursue her Bachelor's degree. She would like to become a Nurse Practitioner and open her own practice. Another example of ARCS continuing to "light up" the world!

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Information provided by:
The Charles F. Brush Alumni Association

5044 Mayfield Road
Lyndhurst, Ohio 44124
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