Celebrating Our 2023 High School Graduates

This month, we celebrated over 25 youth that graduated high school! We’re so incredibly proud of our graduates for this outstanding achievement.

Following workshop, we started the graduation celebration by hosting a panel for our graduates to answer questions about what high school was like for them, what barriers they faced, and what they’re most looking forward to after graduation. A lot of the youth expressed their excitement and disbelief that they’re graduating. “I know when my little sister wakes up to get ready for school, I’m gonna think that I have to get up and start getting ready too, it’s crazy to think that I won’t be and that I’ll be doing college classes,” one graduate stated.

When asked about advice that they’d give to those still in high school, one graduate said, “Whatever you do, don’t listen to your rival. Don’t do it. That negative voice in your head wants to bring you down, so don’t listen to your rival. Even when you don’t want to, listen to the hero.”

Following the panel, the graduates opened their presents, and they all received customized picture frames. Our program coordinators spent months collecting photos of all the graduates to put in frames so they’d remember this moment forever.

We then had our youth play “pin the cap and gown on the graduate”. We taped pictures of their faces to the white board, spun them around and watched as they laughed trying to pin their cap and gown to the board. Let’s just say they tried their best.

After that, it was time to start the scavenger hunt! The hunt included signing all of the grad posters around the room, talking to all of the vendors at the college and career fair, and chatting about what they learned over lunch with their mentors!

We had an amazing group of college and career options for our youth to explore, including Arizona State University, AZ Youth Force, Chicanos por la Causa WIOA and more. Growing up, it can feel like post-grad options are limited, and its important that youth know the options that exist and how they can pursue the opportunities that are out there.

We’re proud of our 2023 high school graduates, and we’re excited to follow their journey on whatever path they choose!