"Each of you has taken a unique path in getting to this point." - Principal Steve Curiel
We love celebrating our students’ achievements throughout the year. But every June, we relish the opportunity to give our graduating students a special send off. After two years of what Principal Curiel called “alternative forms of recognition,” it was amazing to recognize our students in person at the beautiful Huntington Beach High auditorium.
On June 15th, HBAS staff was joined by colleagues, partners, family and friends to honor our Class of 2022 with back-to-back ceremonies for our Diploma/GED, ESL and CTE graduates. Attendees included a few special guests:
- Dr. Bonnie Castrey, President of the Board of Trustees, HBUHSD
- Ms. Barbara Morini, Chief Business Official of Fiscal Services, HBUHSD
- Gen Naydo, Director of Information Technology, HBUHSD
- Andrea Neely, President and CEO of Simon Youth Foundation
We kicked off the day with our Adult Secondary Education (ASE) Program. Principal Curiel acknowledged how students made the time, sacrifices and investments needed to achieve their diploma or high school equivalency.
This was truly a family affair, with diploma graduate Lorene’s son Zach singing the National Anthem. We were then inspired by stories from student speakers. Israel Lopez shared that this was his 3rd attempt at obtaining a diploma. Before, Israel couldn’t picture himself ever graduating. Look at him now! Student Speaker Krystl Miles recognized her husband and son for “supporting me while I worked through online classes, assignments, and tests, along with my demanding work schedule.
The Simon Youth Foundation has been instrumental in providing our students with the tools and support they need to reach their goals. We were honored to have Simon Youth Foundation President and CEO, Andrea Neely, on hand to present diploma graduate Xinia Rowin with a giant $3,500 check. Xinia plans on using the SYF Scholarship to attend nursing school at North Orange County ROP.
After the traditional moving of the graduation cap tassel, HBAS added one of its own traditions. Each time a Diploma or GED student completes their coursework, their teacher rings a bell to celebrate. We closed the graduation ceremony by ringing the bell again with our students and their loved ones.
This year, the ESL Program (English as a Second Language) hosted a Transition Ceremony to celebrate students’ steps forward on their educational path. Some students are moving up to ESL Level 4 or 5 right here at HBAS. Others may be pursuing a diploma, continuing their education at a local college, or applying their newly gained English skills on the job and in their community.
After a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem by Mai Thi Xuan Vu, Counselor Ashley Nguyen introduced the student speakers. Tuyet and Moanes are also winners of the 2022 ESL Scholarships, generously provided by Anderson and Autumn La and the Paul and Jean Wong Family.
Scholarship winner Tuyet shared that “the HB Adult School has made me more confident and comfortable talking with new people.” She wants to earn a technical certificate in the medical field so that she can enter the workplace before her son goes to school.
When scholarship winner Moanes came to the US in 2020, he quickly realized that “language was the first step to achieving everything.” Currently a finance specialist for the Army, Moanes has also been taking accounting classes at HBAS.
Assistant Principal Philip Villamor closed out the ceremony by announcing each transitioning student and sharing details of their future plans. This included nine ESL students who are starting the HBAS Pharmacy Technician course in the Fall.
HBAS closed out our graduation festivities with the CTE Pinning Ceremony. The HBAS Career Technical Education (CTE) Program had its biggest year on record, with 46 students completing certificate programs.
In addition to acquiring technical skills in their field and general job skills needed in any workplace, many of our graduating students also became nationally certified. And many of our CTE graduates have achieved the ultimate goal: a job offer!
Student speaker Anita Evans was hired by CHOC Children’s Hospital right out of our Medical Assistant Program. She expressed appreciation for how our school supports students whenever barriers come up: “HBAS is filled with dedicated and caring teachers and staff. That is how we were able to overcome those obstacles.”
Oh the Places You’ll Go!
What an incredible day honoring our incredible students. It was also a great opportunity to thank the HBAS staff and partners who helped our students on their path, and a chance for our students to celebrate with the family and friends who supported them every step of the way.
Let’s send forth our Class of 2022 with words from Principal Curiel:
“Students, this is just one of many more accomplishments waiting for you. So, whatever next educational or career steps you have planned, we support you, we know you can do it, and we wish you the best.”
In the weeks to come, keep an eye out on our social media pages and website for in-depth features on our graduates.