The Adult Education progam of St. Vrain Valley schools had their final graduation ceremony on Thursday June 20, 2013. I believe there were 100 graduates, all obviously thrilled to have their prized diplomas in hand. I heard stories about overcoming adversity to get an education, mothers working and going to school and the powerful support of friends and family. These are people working hard to achieve the American Dream, they embody the basic principles that America was founded on. And they make me very proud. Thank you to the staff for all their work and thanks for inviting me to attend! I hope you like the photos, glad I could be on hand!
Here’s the entire photoset – you can also go directly to the Flickr set by clicking here.[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157634238206045″]
Here’s two of the speeches I heard:
J. Ruben Saenz
I am a Mexican by birth and an American by naturalization. I am originally from Ojinaja Chihuahua Mexico, a small town on the border with Texas, in 1979 I waved goodbye to my country and moved to New Orleans, which is a multicultural city, it was there, that for the first time in my life I was exposed to a wide variety of languages and dialects, that awakened in me a passion for languages and gave me an idea where to direct my steps to.
I came to this school with two purposes: a) when I left my country, even though I had already some academic achievements, I did not bring with me any transcripts to accredit my education, I decided therefore, to get a high school diploma from an accredited American institution. b) Having obtained a High School Diploma entailed also a personal challenge, the intellectual exorcism of certain fears, concerns I had regarding subjects I struggle with when I was young, math to be specific. Those fears have been conquered, it was a challenge that in the end was well worth it, in fact this second time around, it was actually fun.
To retiterate what I mentioned earlier, getting a High School Diploma was most of all a personal challenge, which I was able to accomplish the only way success is achieved in this life, through hard work and effort.. By the way, my appreciation and respect for all the ladies who are graduating tonite, what you’ve accomplished is commendable. It’s all the same, through hard work and effort were you able to juggle school and a job, while at the same time taking care of your families. It goes to prove that you ladies can accomplish anything if you wish: the sky is the limit, and may this High School Diploma be just the beginning of a series of academic achievements.
As for me, I plan to pursue my goal, which is to grow in the exciting field of translation and interpretation, which by the way I also became certified on just two days ago from the Community College of Aurora. It’s a very demanding and challenging career, but at the end of the day, I thrive on challenges.
For us Latinos, the family plays a crucial role in our daily lives; I dare to say that just as it was for me, for many of the Latinos gathered here tonight, we are what we are, thanks to the unwavering support of our respective families. We Latinos, regardless of our ages and whereabouts, in a way, we actually never left home. Even though we did, we’ll always carry wherever we go a piece of it.
And last but not least, I would like to thank on my behalf and that of my fellow students, The Board of Education for this unique academic opportunity offered to us, thanks also to all the teachers, Mrs. Hena, Marcia, Betsy, Rebecca, Susannah. Thanks to all the substitute teachers and volunteers for donating your time and effort. I apologize if I omitted anyone.
In closing, I would like to make a small personal comment regarding the closure of this school, it’s a shame that other adults, minorities as well as young people, won’t be able to benefit from a quality education. This just gives us a glimpse of where the priorities of our leaders are.
On this note congratulations to teachers and students for a job well done and good luck to all in the future.
Douglas Joel Guzman Cerna
First of all I would like to thank the creator of life, honored guests, fellow graduates, staff and friends. My name is Douglas Joel Guzman Cerna. I’m from Nicaragua and I’m 36 years old. I came to the U.S. when I was 15 years old. I went to school in North Carolina for about three years. Then, I quit school and I started working. I started meeting many people who encouraged me to stay in school but I never listened to them. I would like to thank all those people that have been in my life in so many different ways. Also I would like to thank the negative people too, because they encouraged me to prove them wrong.
I came to Adult Education with the hunger to learn more and to earn a high school diploma, what the inside of me had always wanted. I came to that point and made that decision, and now I did it, with my efforts and the good teachers I had.
My family has been all the people that I have met in my journey of this life. I have been learning from them, from the way they live their lives and the way they treat me. It has been awesome. Even the negative people have helped me because I done what they didn’t expect me to do.
My plans are that one day I will be an architect because I have been learning a lot about construction. As you know when you have the desire to do what you want, you do it; there’s nothing easy but you can do it. Nobody will do it for you. I hope one day that I will reach my goal to be an architect just like I have reached this goal of my high school diploma.
I would like to thank the District Board of Education and the St. Vrain Valley School District for providing the opportunity to earn my high school diploma. Thanks to all and God bless all of us.