The Juvenile Court and Community Schools Program (JCCS) recently honored two outstanding high school graduates at a unique school where students learn trades as they meet academic requirements.
Suzette Mercado and Rogelio Zarate, part of the Class of 2006, earned their high school diploma at the Black Contractors Association of San Diego "Youth Build" school, with personnel from the contractors association working with the students along with teachers and tutors from the JCCS staff.
"Both Rogelio and Suzette have put forth drive and dedication in receiving their diplomas. This is something that they wanted to do not only for themselves, but also for their families. I truly enjoy seeing the growth in both of these students," said Roxanne Morgan, BCA Teacher.
Pastor Esteban Pineda from Victory Outreach Church in San Diego told the commencement audience, "These two students are breaking a curse. They are breaking a curse that will allow them to now live a limitless lifestyle."
JCCS Executive Director Maruta Gardner and Metro Region Principal Tracy Thompson also spoke in recognition of the students' success.
The BCA Youth Build campus is unique in that students have the opportunity to join an apprenticeship program, which allows them to learn a trade while earning a high school diploma. The pre-apprenticeship trade program is an earned privileged program for students with excellent grades and good behavior. All trades are related to construction provided by a Youth Build grant for students in impoverished neighborhoods.
"Suzette and Rogelio are very intelligent, persistent, hard-driving, young adults, who can become great assets to society and touch many lives if they continue to apply their selves in a positive way," said Dorothy Williams, Teacher Assistant at BCA Youth Build.
Suzette worked as a student assistant in her classroom and plans on attending college and majoring in nursing. Rogelio also plans to further his education and attend a university.
Evangelina Jimenez, Rogelio's mother, expressed pride in her son's accomplishments. "It has not been easy for Rogelio to get to where he is today. God has helped him along the way and now he can be a positive role model for his own son. I am very proud of my son and all of his accomplishments. Today is truly a special day for me."