Wolfskill graduates celebrated for open minds and personal growth

Graduating students from the Wolfskill Career Readiness Academy were praised for their showing growth and becoming more open minded under the new program requirements.
Photo by Crystal Apilado/Winters Express Lead teacher Matt Moran acknowledges the Class of 2019 for having an open mind and achieving great growth of maturity.

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Dressed in caps and gowns 11 high school students from the Wolfskill Career Readiness Academy walked past family and friends to the traditional tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” on Friday, May 24 to take their seats next to the podium bearing the Wolfskill wolf mascot. Lead teacher Matt Moran applauded those who showed up to celebrate the students’ hard work to meet their requirements this year as they transitioned into the new program curriculum and classroom changes. He said the graduation ceremony was notable because the Class of 2019 is a combination of the last students graduating under the requirements of the original Wolfskill High School curriculum and a few of the first students graduating under the requirements of the new Career Readiness Academy. In an introductory remark Moran shared how he has watched these particular students become more open minded under the new program and recognized them for the achievement. “I started getting a theme of these students in the last week, realizing that they are becoming open minded. One of our things in our district is to develop a growth mindset–to be open minded so they can grow and I’ve watched these students be that way. Be open to new ideas and to evolve that way,” Moran said. Teacher Greg Wade took his turn at the podium to acknowledge students. Wade first recognized Emma Beck, noting she is a dedicated student who worked very hard to earn her high school diploma. Next Wade honored Andrew Carrion, saying while Carrion was not always 100 percent sure about what he wanted, in the end he stuck with it and he made it happen for himself. Alejandro Gomez was described as a complicated and funny student who always made them laugh. Wade said in the end he saw Gomez become a mature and responsible young man. Wade gave praise to Cesar Garcia who joined the program after moving from Mexico. He said Garcia’s success lay in his dedication to work hard learning English quickly and in respecting his teachers. Ariana Fernandez was noted as having an energetic personality who is always excited about life, friends and family. Wade said she worked hard for many years to earn her diploma. Taking his turn at the podium, Moran took a minute to acknowledge that both he and Wade had been through a lot with all the students and have seen great change in all of them. Moran first recognized John Payan. He told Payan he will go far if he keeps his sense of humor and ability for self-reflection. Moran gave praise to Luis Montes saying, “It’s rare that I’ve seen somebody fully mature as Luis has.” Moran said this year Montes came back to the program as an 18 year old and decided he wanted to work hard to achieve his diploma. “He has a different outlook on the world sometimes, which is refreshing to me,” said Moran. “Your determination got you here, and your determination will get you far in the world.” Ramiro Magallon is one of the students graduating under the new Career Readiness Academy requirements and worked hard to fulfill them after joining the program in January. Moran noted Magallon was present every day and was willing to work. Moran told him he will make it far if he is up to the challenge to face things head on. Moran gave praise to Jacqui Fernandez, another student graduating under the Career Readiness Academy requirements, for her open mind. He shared that instead of getting angry about the new program requirements she wrote an article about it stating her position on them, and followed it up with a mature discussion. Moran said during the discussion Fernandez was able to not only understand his job and necessity of holding a certain line, but he was able to understand where she was coming from. “Instead of having a closed mind she said, ‘I understand yours,’ but she was also open enough to share her ideas with me,” Moran said. Norberto Razo was described as a quiet student who shows up on time, does his work but doesn’t always ask for help. Moran said this year he discovered that Razo is a caring guy who is really trying to get forward in the world. Moran told Razo, “If you’re not sure of yourself, we believe in you, know that.” Lastly, Moran acknowledged Sayra Gonzalez for showing growth over her time in the program. He said she came to the school really quiet, and saw an “evolution in maturity” over this last year as she began to not only advocate for herself, but also in helping her classmates. “She would advocate for herself. She’d say I need these credits. It wasn’t just, ‘what are you going to have me do,’ it was what do I need to do,” said Moran. “She is someone who came in as a ‘let me sit in the back of the corner and ignore that I’m here’ and turned into someone who was helping other students, advocating for herself and speaking out for herself about what she felt was important.” Parents and other family members in the audience celebrated their graduates by acknowledging that, despite the struggles and challenges they’ve faced over the years, their hard work and actions mattered, and they were proud of the growth they’ve seen in them this past year and for sticking with it. One family member addressed the entire class and told them even if people doubt them they need to continue to stick with it and not only prove the doubters wrong but that they will go places. Olga Nevarez from the Concilio of Yolo County presented Gonzalez with a $400 scholarship. Nevarez said she used to work in Winters and saw one of the first classes at that school site. She said she had now come full circle to present a scholarship to a graduate. Winters Joint Unified School District Trustee Carrie Green and Board President Rob Warren handed out diplomas to the graduates. Superintendent Todd Cutler thanked the students for their dedication and declared them officially graduates. As the graduates move their tassels from the right  to the left, they were celebrated with cheers and applause from the crowd.]]>

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