Nine students from the Riverside County Office of Education/Mt. San Jacinto College Adult Life Skills Program received diplomas at Friday’s Certificate of Completion Ceremony at the Menifee Valley Campus.
A crowd of well-wishers filled the community room as family, friends, teachers and work experience employers applauded the graduates’ efforts.
“I’d like to thank the parents who had some really trying times and some really joyous ones to bring these 22-year-olds to this moment,” said Ann M. Vessey, Executive Director for Special Education in Riverside County.
Keynote speaker Betty Gibbel, who will soon retire after 35 years on the RCOE Board of Directors, said the students were ending one experience and beginning another.
“Change is a challenge,” she said. “Every accomplishment starts with a decision to try, no matter how hard it may seem. Maybe one person can’t do everything – but each person can do something.”
She quoted Booker T. Washington, an American educator, author, orator and political leader: “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”
From Disney’s “Mulan,” Gibbel shared this quote: “The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.”
Annette Carrozzo pointed out an exhibit of work portfolios that students helped create, highlighting their jobs, teachable moments and samples of the work they produced. About 25 local businesses, including five departments at MSJC, employed students from the program.
A newsletter that was distributed to guests allowed the graduating students to write about their future plans and goals.
Several will work with EXCEED at its work centers or at its community partners’ sites.
“With all the skills I have learned, I’m going to be able to prove my ability,” said Sherice Moss.
Many discovered they like to work with children and will continue to do so. Allain Alva plans to go to Cole Vocational in Temecula.
“In the Adult Life Skills Program I learned how to get along with people,” said Justin Goward. “(My teachers) taught me how to behave like a man and how to be successful on the job and in the community.”
The Class of 2011 receiving certificates of completion included Charles Alonso, Allain Alva, Josephina Bermudez, Justin Goward, Stephanie Guevara, Clarice Moss, Sherice Moss, Nelia Reyes and Valerie Romero.
Poem read by Betty Gibbel:
We all have own separate pathways to take,
Our own destinations to choose,
We all have our contributions to make,
Our own special talents to use--
We all have our own kind of life to pursue,
Our own kind of dreams to be weaving...
And we all have the power...
to make wishes come true
As long as we keep on believing.
by Amanda Bradley