On Monday, May 16, 2016 the Hermanos and Hermanas program held its annual End of the Year Celebration. During the event, forty-nine Hermano/a students from South San Francisco High School and Westmoor High School were recognized for their academic accomplishments and completion of the program. Two Hermana alumni were recognized in graduating and/or transferring during the 2015-16 academic year.
Dr. Luis Escobar, Dean of Counseling and Advising kicked off the celebration with a motivational welcome, reminding students and their families the value of education and the importance of staying motivated. Three Hermano/as students followed Dr. Escobar’s welcome; Alejandro Llamas, Jessica Montaño-Vasquez, and Oscar Calvo addressed the audience with confidence and shared their stories of resilience and how the Hermanos/as program has positively impacted their educational journey as they all look forward to attending college in the fall.
This memorable event included a special keynote speech by Richard Santana also known as Señor Chocolate. A once tough talking gang member, Santana went on to graduate from Fresno State, got a master’s degree from Harvard University, and is now a motivational speaker. Santana delivered a motivational speech about his life experiences. He reminded the audience that in order to create change they needed to be the change, they needed to ask questions, participate in programs that would help them be successful students and agents of change for their communities.
Hermanos and Hermanas completing the high school program received Certificate of Completion along with an Hermanos/as graduation stole. Hermanos/as Graduates and Transfers received a Certificate of Achievement along with a Skyline College pen/pencil set and t-shirt. During the event students and their guests also enjoyed a graduation-themed photo booth. The celebration concluded with a round of applause to the students for their hard work and determination as many of them will graduate from their high school in the coming weeks—Felicidades Hermanos y Hermanas!
Article by Lucy Perez | Photo by William Nacouzi