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Rivermont Grads Urged To Add Kindness To Life Lessons (Dispatch)

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The six members of Rivermont Collegiate's Class of 2014 graduated Friday, with commencement speaker Judge John Telleen urging graduates to show aptitude in their studies and in how they treat others.

"Be kind, be nice, be sincere, be forgiving, be humble, be generous toward others and you will be rewarded," Judge Telleen, of Iowa's seventh judicial district, said.

"If I had my way, they would add a separate section to the ACT test. Instead of the usual subjects -- English, math, reading and science -- they would add kindness."

He said kindness and sincerity take no real effort, and those who are kind are among the most deserving of college opportunities.

Rivermont headmaster Todd Zachary told graduates to "never stop learning. Always strive to look for avenues to stretch your boundaries and imaginations. Take an Eastern philosophy class or astronomy class, because you never know where your inspiration and creativity will come from."

Mr. Zachary encouraged the graduates to approach life with a positive outlook, have faith in themselves and others and to always be on time. "Sometimes I lived up to that in college and sometimes I did not," he said.

Valedictorian Shravya Pothula recognized the talents of her five fellow graduates, all of whom were women.

"Throughout my 13 years at Rivermont, I learned everything from transforming DNA to analyzing metaphysical poetry," she said.

However, Ms. Pothula said that she learned some of her most important lessons from her classmates, such as selflessness, courage and the values of honesty and persistence.

Ms. Pothula, who plans to attend Baylor University in Texas in the fall, will major in medical humanities and participate in the Baylor Squared Medicine Program.

"The class of 2014 is rich with talent, compassion and determination," she said. "Our experience at Rivermont is an unbreakable bond. I wish you luck in all of your future endeavors, but I know that you will not need it." 

Rivermont Collegiate Graduates 
Jennah Davison, Summer Maurer Lawrence, Victoria Chinedum Mbakwe, Amanda McVey, Tang Ming Sui, Shravya Reddy Pothula.

(See original story on the Dispatch-Argus Website).

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