Today (Saturday), SDCE (San Diego Continuing Education) awarded 6,183 diplomas and certificates during a joint Commencement ceremony with San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) at the San Diego Convention Center. In addition to the 500+ graduates, friends and families who attended, of special significance was the participation of 70 SDCE faculty, dressed in traditional academic regalia and seated alongside the stage party to help recognize students, and to be honored themselves as playing a significant role in creating the environment where students feel supported and can succeed. SDCE advanced level English as a Second Language students were also included in the ceremony for the first time in SDCE’s history.
SDCE’s student representative speaker, Deon Winters, shared his story about being formerly incarcerated and giving up on his education before turning is life around at SDCE. Deon’s story, like that of so many of our students, is about perseverance, hope and strength.
SDCCD Board of Trustees presented special thanks to graduates alongside Chancellor Constance M. Carroll, Ph.D. and SDUSD Board of Education Trustees Michael McQuary and Richard Barrera. I would like to publicly thank Dr. Carol Wilkinson, SDCE’s Acting Vice President of Student Services, for leading a team of dozens of SDCE counselors and staff from facilities, communications and student services who coordinated hundreds of details that resulted in an outstanding ceremony for all who participated.
SDCE is a rich representation of San Diego’s most marginalized communities. Our students are among the most diverse in California culturally, ethnically and educationally. As adult learners returning to school, their courageous choice to enroll in SDCE after facing many hurdles in their lives will open doors to new opportunities for themselves and for generations to come. SDCE’s Class of 2019 included the Vizcarra family of three generations of students who completed the GED and crossed the stage as a proud family. This reminds us that as educators, we must stand together to help our students continue to realize the potential of their dreams and encourage them to never stop learning.
It was an honor to be part of this year’s celebration. Please join me in congratulating the class of 2019!