Oakland – About 30 OUSD seniors finally got what they wanted about six weeks after they had originally planned. They received that symbol of graduation, the diploma book, which they each received in a brief ceremony at Castlemont High School after having finished five weeks of credit recovery summer school, to complete the requirements for graduation. It wasn’t a full commencement with a crowd of students and lots of speeches, but one by one, they met with their summer school principal, and after receiving their diploma book, they got to take photos with their principal and their families and friends who joined them.
The graduates were all students who fell a few credits short of being able to graduate with their classes at the formal end of the 2020-21 school year. Of course, more than a year of distance learning was less than ideal for everyone, and these students said that is what left them needing to catch up this summer. “Just taking English class online, on the computer was kind of hard,” said Jazzis Riley, new Castlemont High graduate. “I missed those junior year English credits, and had to make it up this summer.” Now that she’s graduated, Jazzis says she will be attending college in the fall.
“I’m really proud of her, because she did what she had to do,” said Deborah Raybon, Jazzis’ guardian, who acknowledged the challenges of distance learning. “I think she really needed to be in school, going every day… Now that she’s going to college, she definitely needs to be on it.”
These students spent five weeks completing what’s called credit recovery, to gain the credits needed to graduate. The program was offered via distance learning to more than 300 11th and 12th graders from Castlemont High School, Fremont High School, McClymonds High School, Oakland High School, Skyline High School and Oakland Technical High schools.
Ulises Rodriguez, new Oakland High School graduate, said he had to stay focused to get through summer school. “Working hard, grinding through every situation you have in school, trying my best. I’m the first one from my family to graduate, so there’s more pressure on me to do everything I can.”
“He would basically do six hours of school, try to catch up until he finished it, and he said, “Mom, I’m finished.’ And then the next thing you know, he’s going to graduate. I’m super proud,” said Ulises’ mother, Angelica Rodriguez. Ulises says he too is heading to college in the fall.
“It feels great. I feel great that I was able to accomplish this through a pandemic,” said new Castlemont graduate, Davohn Hackett. “It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been through a lot in my life. Almost lost it, due to getting hit, but I’m glad I was able to finish high school.” Davohn says he plans to go to work to save enough money to pay for college.
Michelle Espino served as summer school principal at Castlemont High School, and she is proud of all the students for dedicating themselves to finishing school, especially given the challenges of distance learning. “When I went back and looked at transcripts, a lot of these young people were A and B students and you can see their grades drop just in this one pandemic year. We’re talking about students who were genuinely on track to graduate and then the pandemic intercepted that. So, I think it does show their level of determination.””
As Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell said last week, “All of us in OUSD send our sincere congratulations to these outstanding students for graduating from Castlemont, Fremont, McClymonds, Skyline, Oakland High, and Oakland Tech. We expect big things from them as they move forward in their education and their careers.”
The graduates will visit their respective schools in the coming weeks to receive their diplomas, to fill their diploma books.
Post based on press release from OUSD to Zennie62Media, Inc.
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