MEDIA DISTRICT WEST -- Monterey High School graduates overcame
obstacles that included being teen parents, working while in school,
caring for family members and catching up on credits.
The 66 students in the class of 2002, which included four teen
parents, accepted their diplomas in a courtyard ceremony at Walt
Disney Studios on Wednesday.
Monterey is an alternative school, featuring smaller classes and
designed to "nurture students," Principal Ann Brooks said.
"Some people told me I wouldn't make it," said Student of the Year
But that didn't stop her from winning scholarships that will help
her go to Glendale Community College to study psychiatry or zoology,
while working two jobs and raising her 17-month-old son, her mother
Kelso also had the support of the school, which provides child
care for its students.
Of the 200 students at Monterey, 17 are parents and two are
pregnant, Brooks said.
In keeping with the school's alternative approach, any student who
submitted a speech could speak, and six students did so.
"Miss Burke, you were the first person who I thought of when I was
in labor -- you were always there for me," speaker Joana Ramirez said
of one of her teachers.
Walt Disney Studios has been a partner with Monterey for 13 years,
providing scholarships and job shadowing opportunities.
"We love working with the students -- they are so dedicated, hard
working and deserving," said T.J. Baptie, Disney vice president for
corporate relations. "Congratulations. Walt would have been very