Three small schools to hold last graduation ceremonies

The three small schools of Fremont Federation will hold their final graduations starting with Media College Preparatory High School’s ceremony today.

Students feel the significance of being part of last graduations of their schools.

“In a way I do feel special knowing that we are the last class from Media,” said senior Ysaira Torres. “It makes the graduation more special and memorable for everyone who went to Media, but at the same time it would be nice if Media continued to exist.”

Torres and about 50 other seniors at Media College Prep will have their graduation at 3:30 p.m. today.

College Preparatory & Architecture Academy High School (CPAA) will follow with a 6 p.m. graduation, while Mandela High School will graduate on June 12 at 6 p.m. All three graduations will be held at Holy Names University.

Next year, the three schools will reunite as Fremont High School and one graduation is expected.
This year, however, the three schools will continue graduation traditions they started while small schools.

The trademark tradition at Media College Prep’s ceremony will be the student-produced slideshow. Meanwhile, Mandela and CPAA will each allow every graduating senior to give a short speech.

The three small schools also will celebrate their own top scholars. Each school has calculated GPAs to name a valedictorian, the number one ranked student of the school, and the salutatorian, the second ranked student.
For the first time since it became a school, Media College Prep will have three valedictorians: twin sisters Kim and Gloria “Jack” Mejia-Cuellar and Shima Kaid. The school’s salutatorian will be Jazmin Garcia.

“I feel proud because all the hard work that I’ve done for the past four years has finally paid off,” said Kim Mejia-Cuellar.

Mandela announced that its valedictorian is Thai-Timothy Vo and its salutatorians are Mary Ja’Nelle Nichols and Cecilia Ayala.

“It feels good because I get to be one of the high grades in Mandela, and I get to make a big speech in graduation,” said Vo.

Vo said that one of the hardest things to do this year was the senior project, but that it was worthwhile.
“It helps us get ready for the real world and [its] preparation for college,” he said.

CPAA named Tina Teing as valedictorian and Eunique James as salutatorian.

“It feels great,” said Teing. “It’s an award that [was] worth my time,” she said.

James named one characteristic that helped her more than anything. “Time management is an important thing, essential,” she said.

Although the top students have much to celebrate, they also feel bittersweet about graduation since many of their classmates who started high school with them will not be walking the stage. The dropout rate in Oakland high schools are up to 40 percent.

“It’s just ridiculous,” said James. “Even though we have road blocks and problematic issues in our lives, that shouldn’t be an excuse in our dropout rate.”