Summit Charter Collegiate Academy

Graduates look on from the stage Friday, May 31 during the Summit Charter Collegiate Academy commencement ceremony in the SCCA gym.

SCCA’s Class of 2019 includes 5 PC graduates

For the 82 graduates of Summit Charter Collegiate Academy’s Class of 2019, Friday night’s commencement ceremony was an occasion full of happy tears, smiles and unwavering hope in a bright future.

The SCCA gymnasium was filled with friends and family to see the graduates, clad in green caps and gowns, make their way around the floor and onto the stage to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance,” played live by the SCCA Concert Band.

Shayla Floyd introduced first herself as master of ceremonies for the evening, then Dustin Bear, who led the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the National Anthem performed by the SCCA Concert Band.

The first speaker of the evening was grad Joshua Romero, who in his speech entitled “We Made It” reflected on the ups and downs of the high school experience, quoting Dickens along the way. Estefanie Ortiz provided the Spanish translation for

the audience.

Next was guest speaker, Burton School District Board of Trustees President Obdulia Alvarado, who spoke to the graduates about her journey as a lifelong learner, from being a nervous young girl during her own 1976 Monache High School graduation, to her education at UC Santa Cruz, then her career as an educator back in Porterville.

“Teaching brought me back to Porterville to help make a difference,” said Alvarado. “Not only did I teach children, but also parents. Tonight after 38 years, I embark on a new journey. Today I enter retirement.”

After a moment of congratulatory applause from the audience, Alvarado delivered her challenge for the graduates.

“Never stop learning. Be lifelong learners, and congratulations, Class of 2019,” she said.

SCCA Principal Jorge Ramos introduced Class of 2019 salutatorian Jesus Norrod and valedictorian Paulina Torres, then Torres gave her valedictory speech, entitled “Defining Success.”

After listing some of the Class of 2019’s achievements, Torres shared her definition of success.

“Success is not measured by how many trophies, medals, college acceptance letters or scholarships you receive,” she said. “Success is if you’re happy, if you’re in a career where time flies, in which you are the best version of yourself.”

SCCA Counselor Danielle Aguilar then announced academic and special recognitions, which included individual department awards for top students in each subject, ten Golden State Merit Seal winners, nine State Seals of Biliteracy, and five students who graduated nearly a month ago from Porterville College with an Associates degree.

Alvarado then returned to the podium to extend a special recognition to retiring SCCA teacher Verlene McDonald, followed by a student speech by Sophia Gomez and guest speaker Randy Daniel, chairman of Summit Charter Academy’s Board of Directors, who gave the Class of 2019 some final words of advice before the graduation was official.

Ramos then certified the Class of 2019, and BSD Board of Trustee members and the SCA Board of Directors assisted in handing out individual diplomas to graduates.

“I’m not really nervous or anything. I’m kind of excited to go off to college and see what’s next,” said John Valdez, who will attend San Jose State in the fall. John has declared as a Biology major but is keeping his options open. “I know I want to teach, probably high school or junior college.”

When asked what he will miss most about his time at SCCA, Keith Carrillo said, “Just all the people and making all kinds of friends. Everyone is really close here.”

Mackenzie Clift, who will attend Grand Canyon University in the fall and study Exercise Science, said her experience at SCCA has prepared her well for her next goals, and her advice for underclassmen is as follows: “As cheesy as it sounds, don’t give up. Working your hardest is difficult, but it definitely does pay off.”

But on an occasion full of reflection and musings on what it takes to succeed in life, the simplest advice is every bit as valuable and profound, as expressed by graduate Jacqueline Arredondo when asked her words of wisdom for younger students.

“Don’t say bad words, don’t kick, and don’t push or shove. That’s it,” she said.

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