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From the Superintendent: End-of-the-Year Motivation

Student Athletes Running

Dear Clarkston Community Schools Families,

It’s here! We made it to the end of the year! As I reflect on the past nine months, I see all the ups and downs we have experienced. We are ending on a high note because we did it together. Our staff, parents, and community have rallied around our students, and I am genuinely grateful for their trust and support. Even more so, I am proud of our students. I am in awe of their perseverance and resilience. I have no doubt that they will continue to reach their goals and go further than they ever thought possible. 

Last week, I delivered my address to the Clarkston High School Class of 2022. Then a few days later, I received an email from Keri Taverna, the proud mother of graduate Joey Taverna. She explained that they used a portion of my speech as their motto at Joey's last race this weekend, and it worked. Joey broke the school record by one second in the final race of his high school career. Last night, I gave the same advice to the Renaissance graduates at their commencement ceremony. Still, after hearing from Keri, I realized this was a motivational tip worth sharing with all of you before you head off and enjoy your summer.

On May 7, 2022, Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby. He was number 21 in a field of 20. He was a late entry that wasn’t even supposed to be there. He was the longest shot, the literal dark horse, yet we all watched him emerge from the back of the pack to triumph against all odds. In just over two minutes, he completely changes the narrative.

I believe this is possible because horses don’t know the odds. They run every race without the faintest thought of past failures or successes. They stand beside the other horses, and when the starting gate flies open, they just run. You will be in many races in your life, and I implore you to bet on yourself every time. You will succeed even when nobody else thinks you will win. 

So when the next starting gate in your life opens, ignore the odds. Just run! Keep your focus, tune out the noise, and be the horse

Thank you for a fantastic year. Only one more week to go!  Enjoy your summer. You deserve it!

We will see you in the fall!


Dr. Shawn Ryan


About Clarkston Community Schools: Clarkston is a highly regarded school district with an enrollment of nearly 7,100 students. We have seven elementary schools (K-5), one middle school serving grades 6-7, one junior high for grades 8-9, and Clarkston High School, which serves students in grades 10-12. We also have a virtual academy, an Early Childhood Center serving children ages 3-5, and an alternative high school/community education facility. Clarkston Community Schools students are well-prepared for a future that excites them, and believe that they can achieve their dreams. The mission of Clarkston Community Schools is to create a learning environment where students, staff, and families are challenged, healthy, engaged, safe, and supported.

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