“Live Oak isn’t filled with the bad apples, as many presume,” said graduating senior Serrano at last week’s graduation ceremony. “It’s a school for those who needed a plan and some support to thrive in our society.”
For Serrano, graduating from Live Oak is a steppingstone to an exciting future. In the fall, he plans to attend Los Medanos College and later transfer to California State University East Bay to earn his business administration degree. He ultimately hopes to be a real estate broker like his father.
“This is only the beginning,” Serrano reminded his peers. “There are many struggles to overcome, many more mountains to climb, but we shall remain virtuous. I feel that each and everyone one of us sitting here today had to overcome something. Whatever that something may be, we achieved. For those who have believed in us – and even for those who doubted us – all I can say is: look at us now. Congratulations, Class of 2011!”
Principal Amy Farias agreed with Serrano. Each student at Live Oak has a unique story. Some come to Live Oak because they were not successful at their previous high school while others come to the school after personal obstacles have interfered with the completion of high school credits. Whatever their story, the students of Live Oak have come to appreciate the importance of education and have pledged to make something of themselves.
Senior Brittany Falley was expelled from four other high schools before she came to Live Oak. “I surrounded myself with people who didn’t care about their education,” Falley said. “After being rejected at the doors of Antioch High School, I honestly gave up hope.”
At Live Oak, Falley found an appreciation for education, and plans to attend Cal Poly Tech to pursue a degree in architecture. Staff recognized her transformation at Live Oak by honoring Falley with the 2011 Personal Growth Award. She was so touched by the gesture that she wiped away tears as she went to accept her certificate.
In addition to diplomas, some students received awards and scholarships during last week’s ceremony. Serrano was honored with the Academic Award for graduating with the highest grade point average; Steven Anello was awarded the Mayor’s Distinguished Student Award for his leadership and contributions to the Live Oak community; and Diana Barajas received the Principal’s Award for modeling what it is to be a well-rounded student, displaying a resilient work ethic and commitment to education.
Alana Canada received the staff scholarship while Heald awarded $1,200 scholarships to Missael Rubio Pina, Esmerelda Fausto and Brian Smith.
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