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 23 San Pasqual Academy Students Celebrate Graduation

As they received their high school diplomas Thursday, 23 students at San Pasqual Academy shared a special and emotional moment, one some of them said they never thought would come.

Perhaps even more importantly, all of the students plan to continue their education, mostly at local community colleges. Four are going to CSU campuses this fall.

For many students, graduating and college are expected, but most of the students at the residential school for foster teens have faced obstacles that many other students couldn’t imagine.

Several of the students who spoke at the graduation ceremony at the rural Escondido campus said they wouldn’t have been as successful as they have been without the stability the school provided and help of the teachers there.

“San Pasqual Academy has helped me shape my character and develop skills needed to be successful in the real world,” said Michael, one of the grads.

All of the students received several scholarships, and many also received awards from local service clubs.

The school’s auditorium was filled with well-wishers, including family members, teachers, school officials and other community members. Three students who were recognized for outstanding citizenship received cars and two got iPads.

San Pasqual Academy started in 2001 to address the needs of foster youth in San Diego County and is the first residential education campus for foster youth in the nation. The school is changing lives and helping to set the community’s foster youth on a path of success by providing foster teens with a stable, caring home; a quality, individualized education; and preparation for independent living.

The 238-acre campus is a unique placement option for foster youth who are 12 to 18 years old. Four collaborative partners on campus offer a seamless delivery of services—providing residential, academic, work readiness, and dependency case-management programs and services. The collaborative partners include New Alternatives Inc., San Diego County Office of Education, San Diego Workforce Partnership, and the County of San Diego.

The San Diego County Office of Education provides the on-site high school program, which includes personalization of instruction and differentiation based upon student need, rigorous grade level lessons aligned to Common Core State Standards, after school enrichment and tutoring for additional intervention and support, access to courses at Palomar College, and career-technical courses in culinary arts and entrepreneurship.