It’s the highlight of the year,
Principal Dennis Browne said Thursday night. Every year, he
looks forward to June when he gives the commencement speech at the
Community Adult School graduation, and watches
– like a proud father – his students clutch their diplomas and
move their tassels.
“It’s the highlight of the year,” Principal Dennis Browne said Thursday night. Every year, he looks forward to June when he gives the commencement speech at the Community Adult School graduation, and watches – like a proud father – his students clutch their diplomas and move their tassels.
“I can hardly tell you how proud I am of the students on this stage,” Browne said at the ceremony held at Britton Middle School.
Although not every student attended to wear the cap and gown regalia, 127 students did graduate with either an adult high school diploma or GED. Browne said more than 400 were enrolled in the adult classes at the start of the school year – but it was those who graduated who persisted and “refused to accept failure,” Browne said.
“It’s never too late to make your dreams into reality,” he said to the full house at Britton.
More than half of the audience were children, mostly toddlers or young children, who belonged to the many parents on stage. Juggling the adult education classes, a full-time job and caring for a family increases a student’s likelihood of not completing the course work. The adulation and praise for the graduates for their stick-to-itiveness brought the crowd to its feet several times.
Three students, who were chosen by their instructors as the brightest of their class, shared their struggle and eventual triumph that led them to the stage that night.
“Every heart in this auditorium beats with pride for you,” Browne said.
Many came in with self-doubt. Such as Brenton Attaway, a single father, who dropped out of high school in Oakland but returned to school to prove to his family and show his 4-year-old son that education is important and necessary for success.
Angelica Gutierrez earned her diploma with the help of Sister Pat Davis and the Learning and Loving Education Center, a tutoring center and school for women who strive to learn English and earn their GED.
“She is a dedicated student and mother. I appreciated her determination and I have no doubt a higher education degree or more is in her future,” GED instructor Desiree Holguin said.
Gisela Molina’s story struck a chord. She married at 19 into an abusive relationship, her then-husband went to prison and she spiraled into a period of using drugs and alcohol. A year ago, her 6-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
Now, her daughter Ninel is back living with Molina and watched her graduate from the front row. Molina, who will attend Gavilan College in the fall, was also awarded a scholarship from the Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras scholarship fund.
“It’s not about what I used to be, but about what I will become now,” said Molina, 32. “If you want to succeed you have to believe in yourself.”