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Balboa Park Hosts SDCE and SDUSD Joint Commencement June 2

Commencement Speaker Shares Experience as DACA student

SDCE Commencement Speaker Cristina Rosas Rehearses Final Speech

SDCE Commencement Speaker Cristina Rosas Rehearses Final Speech

San Diego, CA. – Many caps are flying high this season. For Cristina Rosas, the traditional black cap and gown is her one-way ticket to a better future.

San Diego Continuing Education (SDCE) will award more than 6000 diplomas and certificates on June 2 during a joint Commencement ceremony with San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) at 5 p.m. at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park.

Rosas, a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) student whose father got deported from the United States (US) when she was just five years old, will be the student speaker.

Rosas returned to high school after attending two other public institutions. “Growing up it was very hard for me and my mom. When my dad got deported we found ourselves in a tight situation. My mom couldn't pay the rent. We were all crammed into a single room with four of us sleeping in one bed.”

She enrolled at SDCE in 2015, the same year the California Dream Act was instituted. Rosas’ parents were only able to complete the third grade before leaving Tecp√°n de Galeana, Mexico for the US. “I’m going to be the first one to graduate high school out of my family and go to college. I want this to encourage my brothers to get their diplomas too.”

Following graduation, Rosas plans to complete SDCE’s short-term career training program in Child Development and then transition to City College. “I’m actually proud of myself. I finally have a future to believe in.”

William Sanchez looks forward to seeing his mother and brother amidst the commencement crowd.

Sanchez came to SDCE’s Accelerated High School program wanting to improve his academic record after having to drop out of school a few years ago to find employment.

The 20-year-old lives in southeast San Diego with his mother who faces a mental illness. He explains growing up in an extremely low-income area has resulted in his family having to rely on social welfare. “I have to put both feet forward. I’ve always dealt with hardship.”

Sanchez maintains a 4.0 GPA and was chosen as a San Diego Promise student. “I want to show myself I can do it, no matter where I came from.” The San Diego Promise program implements a local version of America’s College Promise, which is free community college. San Diego is now at the forefront of the national free community college movement due to the San Diego Community College District’s (SDCCD’s) launch of the San Diego Promise in 2016.

Sanchez will transition to San Diego Mesa College in the fall and hopes to one day attend medical school.

SDCE offers more than 60 short-term career certificate programs and thousands of low cost classes including English as a Second Language (ESL) and Citizenship. This year SDCE introduced dozens of new student service counselors to best serve the growing annual enrollment of 44,000+ students.

Rosas credits SDCE College Transition Equity Counselor, Carolina Gonzalez, for her outstanding achievement, “Carolina went above and beyond to be there for me. She never let me quit.”

SDCE faculty will be dressed in their academic regalia alongside the San Diego Promise students who will be recognized with a distinguished graduation stole. More than 400 adult graduates are expected to participate in the ceremony.

The San Diego Promise campaign is part of a statewide movement to make community colleges free for deserving students. 75 spots were granted to SDCE students for the 2017-18 academic year to wave the cost of transition to one of the San Diego Community College (SDCCD) for credit colleges, City, Mesa and Miramar.

SDCCD awarded 11,365 degrees and certificates to graduates this spring, an 18 percent increase District-wide compared to last year.

Date/Time:        Friday, June 2, 2017, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Location:          Spreckels Organ Pavilion | Balboa Park


5:00      Traditional Processional during “Pomp and Circumstance”

5:05      Presentation of the Colors, Pledge of Allegiance and “Star Spangled Banner”

5:10      VIP Remarks


Carlos O. Turner Cortez, Ph.D., President, San Continuing Education

Maria Nieto Senour, Ph.D., Board of Trustees’ President, San Diego Community College District

Constance M. Carroll, Ph.D., Chancellor, San Diego Community College District

Richard Barrera, Board of Education Vice President, San Diego Unified School District

Cindy Marten, Superintendent, San Diego Unified School District

5:45pm Cristina Rosas, SDCE Student Speaker Shares Experience as DACA Student

6:00pm Awarding of Diplomas

6:50pm Traditional Turning of the Tassels

7:00pm Traditional Recessional

4:15-4:45pm Interviews:                SDCE Student graduates available for media


For more information, SDCE.EDU


May 23, 2017

For Immediate Release

Allura Garis

Public Information Office



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