Building a Strong Foundation: Graduation 2014
Though the OCCC has provided high school diplomas since 1998, the Orange County Conservation Corps Charter School’s second graduating class, comprised of 83 graduates, celebrated their accomplishments on June 27 at Irvine Valley College.
The OCCC Charter School teachers had nothing but praise for Valedictorian Jorge Rodriguez-Giron. English Teacher Raechel Sormillon said he was “one of the school’s finest people” as well as the top student. Without being asked, he always helped others understand the material. Emotion marked his speech, much of which he ad-libbed, despite the prepared sheets he brought to the podium. “Since I came to the US, my dream has always been to be successful. I always think that being successful is what you’ve got to think every day,” he said. “It’s been hard, but it’s never too hard. Therefore, I have put all my effort into achieving my dreams.”
The Honorable Federico P. Aguirre, a Superior Court Judge for Orange County, gave a far more hands-on speech than the typical keynote address. Dressed in a baseball cap and flannel shirt, he began mixing concrete. As he started scraping it onto bricks, he explained that his father was a bricklayer. As he stacked the bricks, he told the graduates to build a strong foundation: where they come from, their experiences, their education are what their lives are built upon and cannot be taken away. As he finished, he removed his flannel shirt, revealing a white dress shirt, donned a suit jacket, and picked up a gavel, saying that instead of a trowel, this is his tool now.
A high school diploma is the latest brick these graduates cemented to their wall – an accomplishment on which they can build their futures.
Congratulations, Class of 2014!