Alternative Education graduation ceremony at Lindsay High School

Alternative Education graduation ceremony at Lindsay High School gymnasium, students from J.J. Cairns High School, Loma Vista Charter, and Lindsay Adult School proudly stand before the presentation of diplomas on Thursday, June 6.

JJ Cairns, Lindsay Adult School and Loma Vista School present Classes of 2019 in combined ceremony

A large crowd of families, friends, and jubilant supporters gathered in the stands to cheer on graduates and faculty from three alternative education schools -- John J. Cairns Continuation School, Loma Vista Charter School, and Lindsay Adult School -- as they entered the Lindsay High School gymnasium on Thursday, June 6, to the uplifting traditional cadence of Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance.

Once everyone was seated, Student Advocate Erik Gonzales welcomed graduates, their families and friends, and the alternative education administrators, teachers, and support staff, after which the flag salute was led by Randy Clem, Lindsay Adult Ed Learning Facilitator.

Gonzales introduced Dennis Doane, Principal of all three schools, who recognized the Lindsay Unified School District Superintendent Tom Rooney and introduced him and Deputy Superintendent Lana Brown, other LUSD administrators and board of education trustees, and alternative education support staff and learning facilitators to the gathering crowd.

“It is with great pride and joy that the Alternative Education staff presents to you the senior class of 2019,” said Doane.

He said it was not only a time of celebration but also of reflection. Some of the learners have overcome tremendous obstacles to earn their high school diplomas, and years of hard work are now behind them. Being a small learning community has allowed the staff the opportunity to develop a professional and personal relationship with each learner, and getting to know his students, they have earned his respect. Doane enjoyed working with all these learners and wished them well as they continued on in the next chapter of their lives, and was grateful to share this memorable moment with them.

Emilia Perez, Berenice Martinez, and Crystal Hernandez, Aisha Shaibi and Safa Aloudi all gave inspirational graduation speeches.

They all thanked their families and friends, but especially their learning facilitators (teachers) for their encouragement, caring, and helping them reach their goals, not just of higher learning, but helping them to become confident young adults. They thanked their schools, and said they were able to reach their educational goals with the right kind of help at the right kind of school, which allowed them more individualized attention and help, so they were all finally able to graduate, for some of them ahead of time.

Emilia Perez said every learning facilitator was friendly and very caring at J.J. Cairns, and that they made the learning environment comfortable and safe. She is leaving school with an attitude of gratitude, that “will open doors of success and positive relationships,” she said, thanking the teachers and staff, but also her mother and family, and her boyfriend, a J.J. Cairns graduate, who helped her constantly with her schoolwork.

“Thanks to everyone else for constantly supporting every decision I have made on my way to adulthood.... thank you all for coming,”said Perez.

Berenice Martinez, who spoke in Spanish, welcomed everyone to the graduation, thanked her teachers, friends and family for attending and spoke about her educational journey at J.J. Cairns High School, and what she would be studying.

Crystal Hernandez said it was pleasure being a part of John J. Cairns. Even with uncertainties during the school year she was able to graduate with the help of her learning facilitators, principal and counselor.

“I am very proud of all my classmates and myself for finishing the year off strong, and know we will all go off to pursue our dreams and accomplish them with pride . . . we are the class of 2019,” said Hernandez.

Aisha Ali Shaibi welcomed everyone to the combined graduation and spoke about why she started the independent study program at Loma Vista Charter. It was difficult at first she said, but she could focus on her academics and reach her education goals. She began taking college courses at COS, and with the help of her counselor she secured an internship as a teaching assistant. She thanked her mom and dad “for giving her the greatest opportunity of chasing her dreams, and continuously showing love and support and always believing in my success.”

She also thanked her dear friend Safa Aloudi, who welcomed her into her home to get work done together. She said, “Growing up with you was an experience. I'm so glad to have the experience of graduating together. You've been an incredible friend throughout the years, and I am so excited to celebrate our special day together.”

Safa Aloudi has been at Loma Vista since seventh grade, and after years being an independent learner, she’s gained intellectual capacity and confidence. She plans on becoming a surgical nurse, attending Porterville College, and afterward California State Bakersfield for her B.A. in nursing. She thanked her learning facilitators, staff and the principal, but most of all, her parents for their continued love and support. Without them, she said, she wouldn't be a successful graduate with a clear path for the future.

She shared a verse from her holy scripture (The Quran). It reads: “...Indeed, with every hardship comes ease... Verily, with every hardship...comes ease."

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