Students from the Burbank Adult School graduated earlier this week on a stage filled with caps and gowns and packed with second chances.
More than 180 students earned their high school diploma or General Educational Development certificates, known as a GED, and several students took the opportunity to address their family, friends and teachers during the May 28 ceremony, held at Luther Middle School.
Amy Cerritos said her habit of skipping classes and daydreaming hurt her in the past, but the devotion of her teachers and counselors provided much needed motivation.
PHOTOS: Burbank Adult School graduation
“My counselor signed me up for five classes, I thought it was impossible, there was no way,” Cerritos said. “Little did I know it was very possible. All of these people help me shut out all those doubts and made me realize I was able to do a lot more than I thought.”
Ninety-four students successfully earned their diplomas by recovering credits they lost after dropping out of high school, while another 90 earned GEDs, a certification conferred on those who dropped out long ago.
Arianna Pulidori enrolled at the adult school last year after migrating from Italy and said she plans to pursue a career in sound engineering.
Before being presented with her GED, Pulidori became teary-eyed when she said how much her program helped her and that her mother was waiting for her call back home.
“This school helped me in a difficult time and position,” she said.
For Marlyn Zura, her teen years were spent more working at a mall than in classroom, then she got pregnant.
“My mom told me, was working at the mall what I really wanted my daughter to see of me the rest of my life?” she said.
Four months into her pregnancy, Zura enrolled at the adult school and is now heading to Glendale Community College.
“What my mom told me all along was right,” she said, adding: “Who would have thought this sheet of paper would open so many doors for us?”
-- Arin Mikailian, firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow on Twitter: @ArinMikailian.