Dr. Dennis Burin standing with eighteen Ellsworth Highschool Graduates
Dr. Dennis Burin brought relatability, humor, and surprises to the stage, as the graduation speaker at Ellsworth High School. Eighteen graduates, along with teachers, staff, family, and friends were able to experience his enthusiasm while he encouraged students as they embark on the next leg of their journey—in which he played a role.
In the classroom, he is known for his artistic and engaging way of celebrating accomplishments—whether it’s a birthday or sports victory. With this occasion being a significant milestone, he reverted to that familiar routine. Dr. Burin took a brief detour from his spoken word to play a selection by The Beatles on his harmonica.
“I felt very humbled and honored to be chosen as the Ellsworth High School class of 2023 guest commencement speaker. Knowing that the students selected me, their psychology professor in Fall 2022, reaffirms the passion that I have for teaching and this profession that is so important for the future success of our students,” Dr. Burin said.
With his speech focused on dreaming big and conveying how education is a privilege, he provided insight on the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people, having goals, and how simply being kind to others can pave the way for amazing things to happen in your life.
Principal Naomi Sponable reflected on the benefit of this unique Running Start experience. “Baker College provides the opportunity for our high school students to receive instruction in college- level coursework through the Running Start program that they otherwise may not experience at the high school level, especially in a very small district,” Sponable said.
Dr. Burin has been a part of the Baker College faculty since 2004, and as a former high school teacher and administrator, his qualifications have impacted and been a tremendous benefit to the Running Start program since 2017. More than half the Ellsworth graduating class completed his course during their senior year.