Career Readiness Academy staff honor graduates

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This year Wolfskill Career Readiness Academy students celebrated the end of their high school journey at an in-person graduation event on Friday, June 4 from from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Students and their families arrived as scheduled times. Graduates received their accredited diploma and their work ready certificates. Wolfskill CRA staff also celebrated each student with a personalized speech in traditional graduation fashion. Matt Moran, the CRA lead teacher wrote: Josh Cortes Josh Cortes is one of those quiet students you might miss in the classroom. Unassuming, doesn’t cause trouble, just a nice kid. Luckily our classes are smaller and I got to know Josh. He has an interest in pop culture and has an eye for detail. When he gets interested in a subject, he digs deep trying to find all the details. He and I share a common interest in the CW Universe but he is much more knowledgeable than I am. Josh has a wry sense of humor that comes out as he is comfortable with people. Going out into the world, I hope Josh keeps his sense of humor and his pleasant demeanor. I see him working well with others in a caring manner but also keeping his independence in thought and action. I’ve been lucky enough to have Josh as my student, sharing our common interests and watching him grow becoming a little more extroverted and confident in himself. Kevin Garcia It seems this last year was my year of having quiet, smart, witty students. If you watched Kevin in class, you wouldn’t peg him as humorous unless you got to listen to him. Very quiet young gentleman with a very sharp-keen wit. Kevin walks to his own drummer as noted in his dress and demeanor. People who know me might have figured out that I respect that, walking to my own drummer. Kevin is a gamer with a myriad of interests. I had one administrator mistake his gamer clothing for being something sinister until I explain about Fortnight, etc. In going forward in life, I urge Kevin to be a little more outspoken since he has a lot of good things to say. I also encourage him to not lose his individuality and to continue to pursue his artistic outlets including music. Kevin is that sleeper student who I envision surprising everyone in a few years splashing onto the gaming or music scene with new innovative ideas. Adam Hernandez-Charles One of the buzzwords of the decade was “grit.” Grit was defined as having perseverance to overcome obstacles and finish the task at hand. Adam personifies “grit’ by earning his diploma. I won’t go into detail but Adam has faced some of life’s hardest challenges at any age not to mention as a teenager. He could have stepped away from school and no one would have condemned him for it. In face of COVID-19 and his personal challenges, Adam did not walk away. It took him a little time to find his path but then he stepped up and continued to work on earning his diploma. I admired Adam prior to these challenges but I salute the young man that bounced back from his challenges to complete his course work and to earn his diploma. Alejandro Lona Alejandro, self nicknamed Pollo, is stubborn, frustrating, likable and a great guy. He didn’t really show us the last part until this year. It’s not often that you butt heads with someone and come away liking them a little more. Alejandro is one of those students I really saw grow in his time at our school. He went from really disliking learning to deciding that it wasn’t so bad, and could be helpful on the road to being the next Elon Musk. As graduation this year became possible, Alejandro fought and kicked his way into earning his diploma. As I head into retirement, Pollo will be one of those students etched into my mind for his humor, his mental acumen and for his stubbornness all of which will help him succeed going forward. Abegail Marquez Abegail is one of those students who ends up leading without meaning to. She was a guiding force at our school, coaching students on how to behave and to approach their school work. Instead of getting exacerbated with some of the boisterous students she would work with showing them how to format an assignment or at times how to complete them. One incident will always stick out in my mind. We had two students who did not get along with each other but looked up to Abegail. Abegail informed one student that she wouldn’t pick sides but was friends with both of them. If they felt awkward about it then they needed to work things out which they did. I come back to a student who leads by example without ever trying to be a leader. With her pleasant demeanor and inherent leadership qualities, Abegail is ready to go out and conquer life. Valeria Velasquez Valeria, or Valerie, is one of those rare students in your career that you see go from freaking teenager to a mature young adult. Her transformation has been amazing. I’ve watched Valerie choose her role models wisely; I’ve watched question and change her own behavior; and I’ve watched grow into a curious, inquisitive young lady. Caterpillar, cocoon, butterfly, truly amazing. Another student with her positive energy, her curiosity and her examination of life in general has the ingredients to do great things as she moves forward in life. Greg Wade, the CRA math and social science teacher, wrote: Aleyda Alvarez Aleyda is the most wonderful and beautiful girl. She is spunky, funny, and kind. She looks at the world and learns about the world in her own way – much like the famous actresses before her. She has a longstanding interest in acting and visual arts. Her artwork is quite uplifting and fun, and along the way, she acquired the nickname “Hollywood.” She is also a hard worker and we are expecting big things from this little lady. Selena Lopez Selena is a brilliant writer. She reads a variety of authors and has been known to research who they were and their careers. Her writing is productive and she employs metacognition in analyzing her own writing – a tall order for a high school student. She has an irrepressible smile, and she will not shut down despite her family circumstances. If anyone was ever to pull themselves up from modest circumstances, it will be Selena. She is just too intelligent, witty, intuitive, and hardworking to be denied happiness and success. Silverio Magallanes Silverio is the sweetest boy imaginable. He is like a cuddly teddy bear with big dreams. He is looking towards a career in medicine, helping others with their problems, and this is exactly the kind of person he is. He is loyal and stands by his friends. He is curious and polite. He made a point of getting along with his teachers and listening to their advice. His pleasant disposition will take him a long ways in life. Serafin Ramirez Serafin is a tall, lanky, affable fellow with big ears and a non-stop smile. He is also thoughtful and provocative. Small wonder I call him Barak Obama and I have encouraged him to run for President. He is curious and a delight to have in class. He is calm, mellow and takes things in stride. His big family and many experiences seem to keep him perennially happy. He is always thinking and so is not one to fall for the latest fad or scam. Essentially, he is open-minded but skeptical, a natural critical thinker. I see an exciting future for him. Katherine Roy Katherine is a unique young lady who is bright, curious and well-informed. She has faced many challenges in her young life including diabetes. In confronting these challenges, she has also confronted her own self-doubts and in the process begun to practice the art of self-care. Her intelligence is not in doubt. She needs only to reflect on her greatest passions in life and focus on those, instead of worrying about the small stuff. Thank you Katie for choosing to be a contributing member of the C.R.A. Miguel Soria Miguel defies explanation. Does he have an attention deficit? Yes. Is he hyperactive? Yes. Is that who he is? No. Rather, he is a social, nonjudgmental, upbeat, kind, considerate, curious kid who adds to any discussion or dynamic. He is a born participator who simply requires a couple of guardrails and he is destined to be successful in business due to his high motivation and social confidence. Will that smile ever leave his face? I doubt it. Liz Coman, school district Career and College Coordinator, wrote: Juan Herrera The first word that comes to mind when I think of Juan is “solid.” This may seem unusual as a descriptor for a person, but it applies to Juan. He is a person of solid, substantial character. As a matter of fact, in his own words Juan says, “I am willing to push myself to do bigger and better things for my future.” I can attest to the truth of Juan’s personal statement. He enrolled this year at the CRA taking a full load and working a full time job. At the beginning of the year, after on-line classes in the morning, he left for work in the afternoon, often working a full day on the job at Rominger Brothers. Once the switch to hybrid was made, Juan worked a full day, taking a two-hour lunch to log into school, and once school was over, he was right back on the job. Even with this grueling schedule, Juan’s schoolwork was always above standard. Not only does this speak to Juan’s work ethic and his desire to produce quality work, but also to his time management skills. He has learned something that many adults have not learned, and that is to prioritize what is important, and take care of those things first. I believe Juan learned his work ethic at home. He comes from a close-knit family that believes in the dignity of work. Juan shares those values. Since a young age, he has been translating documents for his parents because they do not speak English. This has made him fluent in both English and Spanish, a definite plus for any employer in California. But don’t take my word for it; here’s what Bruce Rominger has to say, “Juan is a great young man who is always ready for any work assigned to him.” Everybody at the CRA has enjoyed working with Juan. He is a person who maintains a positive point of view. He exemplifies one of my favorite quotations, “Plunge boldly into life.” Juan’s solid work ethic, his quest for success and his enthusiasm guarantee he will take the plunge. Joseph Angel Barrera If you want to meet someone who is goal-oriented, willing to work hard to meet those goals, and dedicated to pursuing his dreams, let me introduce you to Joseph Angel Barrera. He is the epitome of a person who is determined to succeed. In fact, the first word that comes to mind when I think of Joseph is determined. He arrived at the CRA this year with the goal of graduating in June. Many students arrive with that same goal, but fall short in doing the work to make it happen. Not so, Joseph. He was engaged in his education and learning from the first day. Considering the first three-quarters of the school year, where learning was virtual, this set Joseph apart. He was determined not to let the pandemic get in his way. He attended class, engaged in the assignments, accepted constructive feedback, and submitted high-quality work. To illustrate, I want to use one of the assignments Joseph completed. He had to identify a motto that he found meaningful and explain it. The motto he chose is, “If you work hard, you win hard.” In his explanation, he says, “I have seen that when I try and be the best version of myself, it changes everything, and I am more capable of completing the task.” I can attest to the fact that Joseph puts his best foot forward with the tasks he take on. He accepts the struggle, knowing that he will be able to emerge on the other side a stronger person. This attitude of determination is something many adults never learn, yet Joseph lives it. In fact, he is completing the first major step in achieving his goals because he is graduating in June. In addition, Joseph is always polite and respectful, two qualities that will help him throughout his life. It has been a delight to work with him! Manuel “Nico” Bermudez Although I am delighted that Nico has achieved the goal of earning his diploma, I am a bit sad for myself, because I will miss working with him. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him during his time at the CRA. Nico is one of those people that impresses others in just a short amount of time. This is certainly true when you consider that after only a couple of months at his job, he was promoted to be team leader. His supervisor recognized Nico’s leadership capabilities and realized the crew would be best served with Nico at the head of a team. When I spoke with her, she indicated that Nico was a person she could assign to any job and be confident he would get it done, and that he would be able to work well with the members of any team. Another example is clear from what the members of the interview panel had to say. One member said, “Virtual interactions can sometimes lose energy and connection that an in-person interview can bring. I thought Nico brought good energy and really showed his personality. He wasn’t afraid to talk about himself and his recent learnings which shows he is genuine and confident in the person he is becoming. It was lovely to also learn that he has the same demeanor around his family, friends, teachers and colleagues. These are all great attributes that makes a wonderful employee, adult and person that people want to be around and share their lives with. I really enjoyed getting to know Nico today and wish him well in the future! Wow! In a 15 minute interview, Nico was able to show the members of the panel what we at the CRA know — not only is Nico destined to be a productive member of society, but he is someone who boots our morale and makes coming to work an enjoyable experience. I think it’s clear why Nico’s teachers will miss him and why we are feeling a bit sorry for ourselves. However, that is overshadowed by our joy in Nico’s accomplishments and the future that awaits him. Watch out world, Nico is on his way. Jose Luis Gutierrez I believe, if he wanted to, Jose Luis could become the mayor of Winters, governor of California, or even President of the United States. He is a young man who already has a well-developed set of leadership skills, and he definitely has the capacity to expand these even more. And I am not the only one who thinks so. The following remarks are from the members of the interview panel: Panel member No. 1: It’s clear Jose has leadership skills. Panel member No. 2: Gave us a clear sense of his leadership with specific examples. Panel member No. 3: Wonderful job reinforcing his strengths throughout the interview. It was clear that he had demonstrated diverse leadership skills in many settings. At the age of 17, he was promoted to shift leader shortly after joining the Burger King team. He took this responsibility very seriously. He mentioned that he had to learn how to collaborate with the members of the team, especially when it came to training them on the different tasks, because he realized they didn’t all learn in the same way. He also had to figure out how to time-manage the crew. If too many people were on break during busy times, it made more work for those not on break. He learned very quickly that he needed to stagger the breaks in order for the shift to function effectively. Luis is a problem solver and a critical thinker, both of which are valuable qualities in an employee. Jose wants to become an electrician. He possesses the qualities necessary to fulfill this goal. He has a willingness to learn, in fact, not just a willingness, but an enjoyment in learning new skills. Electricians often work at customer job sites, and Jose possesses excellent customer service skills that he has honed at Burger King. All of his teachers will tell you that he is polite, respectful and well-mannered. All of the skills mentioned above are marketable skills, and they are also ones that I, personally, would like to see in a mayor, a governor or the President. Ivan Lopez Ruvalcaba The quotation Ivan selected for the cover of his job search portfolio reads, “Push yourself, because nobody else is going to do it for you.” This quotation completely represents Ivan. He has come to realize that making change, moving forward in life, overcoming obstacles is a personal decision. In other words, Ivan understands the value of perseverance. This is clear in his personal fitness story. Prior to the pandemic, Ivan was a bit overweight and not overly strong. When you see him today, that is hard to believe. As a matter of fact, when he walked into the classroom when the school transitioned from distance learning to in-person learning, I did not recognize him. Ivan will tell you that it took determination and dedication to accomplish this change. He embarked on a fitness journey that included diet, exercise, and training. When he faltered, he “pushed himself because nobody else was going to do it for him,” and the results are astonishing. When you talk to Ivan, he will tell you he has applied the same determination and dedication mentioned above to other aspects of his life. He is employed, has earned his diploma and is on his way to becoming an accomplished adult. Just as important as his drive to succeed is his demeanor. He is someone who is a team player, but he will also step up to take the lead when necessary. This is a rare attribute in most students, and I believe Ivan will continue to develop his capacity for leadership. It has been a pleasure to teach someone who is such a personable, pleasant young man.

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